Senator Tom Harkin says he does not yet know how he’ll spend the $3 million in his campaign fund. Harkin announced last Saturday that he would not run for reelection and today Harkin was asked during taping of an Iowa Public Television program what he’ll do with that money.
“I have to be honest with you, Kay, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve asked my campaign people to find out. I don’t even know what I can do with it. I mean I’m sure there are certain ethics rules and certain guidance things like that. Sitting here, honestly, I don’t know,” Harkin said.
A reporter asked: “What’s your inclination?”
Harkin replied: “Well I don’t know yet, until I find out what the parameters are.”
Harkin isn’t ruling out the prospect of donating the money to The Harkin Institute at Iowa State University, Harkin’s alma mater. But Harkin’s also holding out the possibility he may move The Harkin Institute to Drake University.
“I feel I have an obligation not to leave my papers anywhere where there would be restrictions on it, on my papers or on the research that may be done with them,” Harkin said. “I want full, unfettered academic freedom for my papers. To this extent, that has not been forthcoming from the president of Iowa State.”
According to Harkin, the original idea for the institute came from Ames.
“I did not go to Iowa State to ask for this,” Harkin said today. “They came to me a couple of years ago.”
“The answer to that is no…Jeff, there’s been a lot of stuff that I’ve read that you’ve written, that others have written that, you know, there’s a little snippet of truth and then you build things around it that just aren’t so…I’ve always appreciated muckrakers, O.K.?” Harkin said, laughing. “They have a role to play. I don’t mind that, but I’m not going to take all my time here getting into who did this and what did this and all that kind of stuff.”
Harkin said today that he will not raise any more money for his campaign fund, but will continue to raise money for the “TOM-PAC — a political action committee. TOM stands for “To Organize a Majority.”. Later this month Harkin is scheduled to hold a fundraiser featuring Lady Gaga.
“One of my deepest, darkest secrets: I am a Lady Gaga fan,” Harkin said, laughing. “Actually, she is pretty good.”
Lady Gaga is scheduled to hold a concert in Washington, D.C. on February 25. According to politicalpartytime.org, tickets to the Harkin fundraiser are $1500 each.