Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon is criticizing a competitor for the campaign contributions she’s accepted. Fallon says State Ag Secretary Patty Judge has taken thousands of dollars from corporate livestock operators.”A lot of Iowans, both rural and urban, are deeply concerned about the concentration of hog production in the hands of fewer and fewer, larger and larger corporate confinements,” Fallon says. “It’s disturbing to see such a huge amount of money coming from those interest groups into one candidate’s campaign.”
Fallon says his staff’s review of Judge’s latest financial disclosure report shows her campaign received 20-thousand dollars from Peter DeCoster and his wife, five-thousand dollars from Smithfield Foods’ political action committee and 15-hundred dollars from the Monsanto Company’s Citizenship Fund. “That’s on top of the $35,000 that the Judge campaign received from other hog confinement interests like Heartland Pork, Iowa Select and Murphy Farms,” Fallon says. “Over the years you start seeing that kind of influence coming into a candidate’s campaign and you know it’s really going to be tough to be objective.”
Fallon says there appears to be a link between the growth in corporate hog operations in Iowa and those campaign donations. “This is all perfectly legal and that’s probably the most disturbing thing,” Fallon says. “Ethically, and in terms of policy, there’s a lot wrong with it.” Fallon proposes what he calls a “clean campaign” law that would see taxpayer-financed elections for statewide offices like the governorship.
Judge’s campaign issued a statement, saying Judge is proud of the support she’s received from the pork industry and “they…have every right to contribute to candidates and be part of the political process.” Judge also shot back at Fallon, accusing him of “treachery” by abandoning the Democratic Party in 2000 and working for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Judge questioned whether Fallon would back another Democrat if they win the party’s gubernatorial nomination. Fallon says he “probably” will. Fallon says his staff is wading through the details of the financial reports from the other Democrats who’re running for governor, and Fallon promises he’ll have more to say about campaign finance in the coming days. “I have no doubt…we are going to find other disturbing trends,” Fallon says.