Governor Tom Vilsack is calling on Congressman Jim Nussle to abandon a pot of money he’s already raised if Nussle decides to run for Governor. Nussle, a republican from Manchester, has about $330,000 left over in his congressional campaign account. Federal law allows Nussle to transfer that money to a state race. Vilsack has told Lee Enterprises newspaper reporters that is “100 percent wrong” and Vilsack says the legislature should consider passing a law that would forbid Nussle from making such a move. Nick Ryan, a spokesman for Nussle, says Vilsack’s comments are disappointing. “With the challenges that our state faces right now, you would think the governor would be more concerned about providing leadership on important issues that face our state rather than worrying about who his replacement might be,” Ryan says. Vilsack, Iowa’s first democratic governor in 30 years when he was first elected in 1998, has said he will not seek re-election to a third term. That leaves a wide open race for governor in 2006, and Nussle is considered a strong contender. Ryan says it’s premature to say whether or not the Congressman will run for governor, but Ryan says Nussle has followed all applicable federal election laws in collecting that campaign money and has disclosed not only where the money came from but how it’s been or will be spent. Federal campaign finance reform passed in 2002 prohibited the transfer of money from a federal to a state race, but several U-S Senators are eyeing races for governor and they quietly tucked an amendment into a spending bill that passed this year to allow campaign accounts for U-S Senators and Congressmen to be transferred to a state race.
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