The Iowa Senate has approved legislation regulating campaign advertising paid for by corporations or unions. The bill was drafted after a recent U.S. Supreme court ruling that allows corporations to spend freely on political advertising. The Iowa Senate’s bill would require unions and corporations to report how much money they spend on candidate commercials. Each ad would have to conclude with a statement letting listeners and viewers know what corporation paid for the ad.
Some lawmakers pushed for greater restrictions, but the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board executive director Charlie Smithson urged baby steps. “Let’s get something to deal with what we need to deal with, and then if we need to tweak down the road, do so,” Smithson says.
“But let’s get something that’s constitutional first and foremost. It doesn’t do any good to pass some massive piece of legislation if we’re just back in court and we lose in five or six months.” If the Senate’s bill becomes law, a corporation would have to get authorization from its board of directors before purchasing political time and would not be allowed to use the same advertising firm used by the candidate the corporation is supporting.
The measure now moves to the House where leaders have said they’re most interested in ensuring foreign corporations are banned from participating in Iowa political campaigns.