Last summer’s “Draft Branstad” effort has prompted legislators to draft a bill that would require similar groups to disclose fundraising information. Charlie Smithson, executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, says Iowa’s campaign finance laws didn’t cover the activities of the group formed to build public pressure for former Governor Terry Branstad’s return to politics.
“People from both parties were saying, if this is going to be the new way to do it, we want to be able to form these things,” Smithson says. “Nobody did anything illegal before, but it’s just if this is going to be a new way of campaigning, let’s capture these activities under the campaign laws and just get public disclosure.”
A small, bipartisan panel has signed off on the bill that would require such groups to report who’s contributing money and how much — once a “draft so-and-so” movement collects $750. The proposal will be considered by the House State Government Committee next.
Last year’s “Draft Branstad” committee was disbanded after Branstad retired from his job as president of Des Moines University in order to run for a fifth term as governor.