The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party is calling on Iowa radio and television stations to stop running a series of ads critical of Democratic Governor Chet Culver. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan’s complaints are about ads from the "Iowa Future Fund" which accuse Culver of overspending and raising taxes.
"It’s certainly our view that what’s asserted in that ad, it’s undeniably false which is probably why the people who have funded this have refused to go public," Brennan says. Brennan has filed a complaint with the state agency which oversees campaign advertising.
"We need an expedited ruling and an investigation before this group puts out another one of these false ads," Brennan says. The group running the ads calls itself the Iowa Future Fund, lists a post office box in Des Moines as its address and is using an ad agency that Culver’s 2006 opponent used.
Iowa Ethnics and Campaign Disclosure Board chairman Charlie Smithson says he’s notified the chairman of the agency’s board of the complaint from Democrats. "The first issue the ethics board will have to look at is whether or not this triggers the campaign laws based on the language in the ad. Does it exhort a vote for or against someone? It’s what we call express advocacy," Smithson says, "so that is the first issue the ethics board will have to determine is its jurisdiction."
The other issue is how the Iowa Future Fund is set up. If it’s a political action committee, then state regulators would have some jurisdiction. If its one of the relatively new political groups called Five-twenty-sevens, then it would be under the jurisdiction of federal officials.
Brennan, the Iowa Democratic Party’s chairman, argues the group is making "direct attacks" on Governor Culver and the ads should be pulled off the air until the group reveals its donors. "I think it violates the spirit of Iowa politics," Brennan says. "I mean, you know, we’ve always had very open politics in Iowa and this is absolutely not in keeping with that spirit." Yesterday, Culver’s lieutenant governor said the ads represent "the worst" in politics and are "blatantly" inaccurate.