A U.S. Supreme Court ruling today could invalidate an Iowa law that restricts corporate campaign contributions. Iowa House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says he’s getting advice on how Iowa can continue to restrict corporate giving.
“We will move quickly to do anything we can to fix the situation,” McCarthy said. “It’s very troubling and concerning.” For 63 years federal law has banned spending corporate dollars on behalf of candidates for congress and the presidency. The court threw out that law on a 5 to 4 vote. McCarthy says Iowa law bans corporate contributions at any time, as well as lobbyist and PAC contributions to state lawmakers during the legislative session.
“We’re analyzing right now the effect of the decision on that prohibition and also the corporate ban, which appears to potentially be lifted right now,” McCarthy said. The Senate’s top Democrat, Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs, says he “fears for the survival of democracy.”
House Republican leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha says disclosure of campaign giving is the important thing, and the ruling doesn’t threaten disclosure laws. The Supreme Court ruling could mean the end of corporate campaign bans in 23 other states besides Iowa.
Campaign finance experts say Iowa may still be able to limit the size of corporate campaign contributions, or continue to restrict gifts during the legislative session.