Democratic candidates for Iowa House have accepted hundreds of contributions from people in foreign countries, raising serious questions about the legality of these donations given Iowa and federal laws prohibit candidates from accepting money from foreign nationals.
For example, Iowa House candidate Andrea Phillips has accepted contributions from cities like San Juan, Tel Aviv, Shinagawa-ward, Vancouver, and Amsterdam. These are clearly cities in Puerto Rico, Israel, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands — yet they are listed as cities in IOWA on Phillips’ campaign disclosure report, which she submits to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.
Pellant for Iowa House has accepted contributions from Barcelona, Berlin, Fuerstenfeldbruck, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Singapore, to name a few. There are 40 foreign contributions, totaling over $1,000.
Thousands more of these types of contributions are unitemized. For example, Kayla Koether has accepted $46,000 in identifiable contributions. How many of these unitemized contributions are from outside the country?
Overall, at least 14 campaigns reported accepting foreign contributions.
Just this past week, concerns were raised at the federal level as to how ActBlue sources small-dollar, unitemized contributions. Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he plans to investigate these small dollar contributions for potential foreign influence on U.S. elections. Senator Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, has expressed his interest in joining the effort.
“Iowans deserve reassurances that Iowa Democrats are not using a shadowy fundraising scheme as a way to funnel foreign money into our statehouse races,” said Jeff Kaufmann, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “Iowa Democrat candidates who accepted this money must be asked about these shady contributions and come clean about where they came from. This kind of suspicious activity is simply unacceptable, and Democrats should not be turning a blind eye.”
The Republican Party of Iowa has filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, which can be found by clicking here.