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Big Campaign Cash Flows Through Hawkeye State

November 1. 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - Millions of dollars in secret campaign cash have flowed through the Hawkeye State this year, much of it to buy negative attack ads in Senate and Congressional races around the country. One of the biggest players is the Iowa-based American Future Fund, which has run ads mostly attacking Democratic candidates. Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, the fund no longer has to disclose its list of donors.

Adam Mason, community organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Development, says that's something that affects Iowans, too, because the Fund has been tied to the Team Iowa political action committee.

"That group has been active in donating to state candidates. We're looking to see what agenda they have when they're giving out $10,000 or $25,000 campaign contributions and how they're going to try and wield that influence."

University of Iowa political science professor Cary Covington says the big increase in campaign spending, especially on negative advertising, is having at least one clear consequence.

"It makes it harder on the voters to decide who to support. They're given a lot of good reasons not to vote for somebody, but not really given good reasons who they should vote for."

Rep. Bruce Braley is one of the Democrats being targeted by the American Future Fund. The Fund was started with money from ethanol exec Bruce Rastetter. It has spent well over $500,000 on ads attacking Braley alone.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA