We recently reported that the Republican Party of Iowa gave more than $285,000 to Republican members of the Iowa House who voted against the heartbeat bill. That money was given after the representatives voted against the heartbeat bill.
It was pointed out by former party insiders that the Republican Party of Iowa really doesn’t have any say in where the money went as it was likely spent out of the House Majority Fund. The House Majority Fund decides where to spend its money based on what leadership decides.
Basically, Republican members of the Iowa House pool their money together and leadership sends money to candidates they think are in competitive races.
This is problematic. Understandable, but problematic.
Prevailing wisdom goes like this…Republican leadership in the House cares about one thing — maintaining a majority. So leadership can’t really be blamed because they’re just doing their job.
The wisdom continues to say it isn’t the Republican Party of Iowa’s fault either as they’re simply following orders. So they can’t be blamed either.
Which leaves pro-life Republicans who donated that money without anyone to blame.
It should be mentioned that Democrats do the same thing, however, I wonder if the Democrat Party of Iowa would donate more than $285,000 to a group of Democrats who voted for the heartbeat bill.
I guess we don’t know the answer, but I think we could all make a pretty solid, educated guess.
Current law prohibits one campaign from donating directly to another campaign. For instance, if Senator Joe is running with $25,000 in his campaign account but no opponent, he cannot donate directly to a trusted friend like Senator Bob. Instead, Senator Joe gives that money to the Senate Majority Fund (Republican Party of Iowa) and Senate leadership will decide which races get money based on need.
Here’s the problem.
Senator Joe represents an ultra-conservative part of the state. He raised that $25,000 because his donors share his values and beliefs. They donated to Senator Joe because they know him to represent the party’s platform flawlessly.
More importantly, for those who are pro-life, he voted for the heartbeat bill. So did Senator Bob. Senator Joe and Senator Bob are pretty strong partners in the Senate.
Senator George, though, is on the other side of the state. It’s unlikely 10 percent of those who donated to Senator Joe will ever meet Senator George, let alone intend to donate to his campaign.
Perhaps that is because Senator George voted against the heartbeat bill. No pro-life Iowan would consider donating a dollar to Senator George, let alone tens of thousands of dollars.
Yet Senator George is in a “contested race.” He is in a “swing district.” And control of the Senate may very well come down to Senator George’s seat.
If you’re looking for a real-life example, consider the following:
Two pro-life champions from the Iowa House gave a combined $103,360 to the Republican Party of Iowa in 2018. The same pair received back a combined $12,298.02.
So more than $90,000 that was raised by pro-life stalwarts went elsewhere.
Here’s another interesting tidbit. The six Iowa House Republicans who voted against the heartbeat bill represented costly seats.
If you add up the amount of money the Republican Party of Iowa spent on winning each of those seats initially (before any of the six were incumbents) it was a grand total of $1,178,306.
That’s a big investment.
But, to be fair, without those six Representatives in the House, Republicans don’t have control to even get the heartbeat bill to the floor.
Here is a quick fix.
Make it legal for one campaign to donate to another. A pro-life Iowan who donates $100 to their state representative likely has no idea there’s a good chance that $100 ends up helping someone else — and potentially someone else who voted against their own interest.
That isn’t right.
Iowans would feel much better about donating to specific legislators if they knew those legislators will direct where that money goes.
Here’s the problem with that. Leadership controls the purse strings of the majority fund. And leadership decides what bills do and don’t make it to the floor. A bill allowing one campaign to donate directly to another would obviously take a fair bit of power away from leadership.
If that doesn’t happen, then the obvious — and perhaps even quicker quick fix — would be to primary those who vote against the Republican Party’s platform.
Remember, nobody was disenchanted enough with any of the five Republicans who ran for re-election and voted against the heartbeat bill to challenge them in a primary.
Something in this regard has to change. It just has to. It doesn’t seem right to take money from pro-life Iowans, turn around and give it to someone who did not vote pro-life.
Under the current system, well-meaning, hard-working, pro-life Iowans are being swindled out of their money.
They don’t deserve that.