Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has hired a state representatives from Davenport to help run his Iowa campaign. While the Iowa Senate’s ethics rules prevented two state senators from working for New York Governor George Pataki’s Political Action Committee last year, there’s no restriction that’ll prevent Representative Elesha Gayman from accepting a paycheck from Obama’s campaign.
Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board director Charlie Smithson says that’s because Gayman’s working for a presidential campaign and not for a PAC. "I know that sounds like we’re drawing fine distinctions, but you wouldn’t want a candidate, for example, going to work for a state PAC when that state PAC then has the ability to give campaign funds to the candidate or to lobby the candidate in their capacity as a state legislator," Smithson says.
Last fall, Republicans Stewart Iverson and Chuck Larson — both out-going state senators — were told they could not accept paychecks from Pataki’s PAC. Smithson says Gayman has the go ahead to accept a paycheck for working as Obama’s eastern Iowa political director. "Both the state’s campaign laws and the House Rules of Ethics permit employment with a federal candidate’s committee, but wouldn’t with a federal PAC," Smithson says. Gayman, who is 28 years old, was elected to her first term in the Iowa House this past November.