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CCI announces completion of Phase I
of "Money and Elections in Iowa" study

Phase I of CCI’s “Money and Elections in Iowa” study is complete!
Phase I is an extensive examination of who is giving money to candidates for the Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives. This is the first time that Iowa campaign finance data have been compiled in this way.

The three phase "Money and Elections in Iowa" study is being conducted by Dr. Art Sanders of Drake University. Sanders is a nationally-known and published political scientist who has studied citizen politics, campaign finance issues and the American political system for over two decades. He is the Chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Drake University, where he has been a faculty member since 1990.

Work on Phase II will begin in early 2006. Phase II of the study will use case studies from recent legislative sessions to examine how these campaign contributions may have influenced specific pieces of legislation.

Phase I of the study shows the unbalanced financing of our campaigns.
Here are some of the key findings:

• Winners almost always have more money than losers. In only 13 races in the 2004 elections did the winner raise less money than their opponent; and in only one of those 13 races was there a substantial difference.

• Challengers need to raise large amounts of money to compete - $100,000 to run for the Iowa Senate and $65,000 to run for the Iowa House.

• Members of both major political parties rely heavily on PACs, not individuals in their districts – to fund their campaigns. Nearly 60% of the money given to incumbents comes from PACs.

• PACs often make large contributions to incumbents facing weak or no challenges, particularly incumbents who are in leadership positions.

• The smallest amount given to candidates comes from small individual contributions – the kind of contribution most everyday Iowans can afford to give.

• As the cost of campaigning continues to rise, so will candidates’ reliance on large contributions and PACs; meaning most Iowans, no matter how well meaning, will never have the chance to competitively run for office.

What can I do now?

1. Host a house party! Do you have 10 – 15 friends who should know more about this study? Would those friends sponsor Phase II with a financial gift? We will be setting up house parties across the state to build support for Voter-Owned Elections and to raise money for Phase II of the study. Contact Tyler at 515.255.0800 or tyler@iowacci.org if you are interested in hosting a house party.

2. Send letters to the editor. It is important that Iowans know what is happening to our elections. Elections of state officials are a public good, and the public is slowly being removed from the financing of these campaigns. Cite facts from Phase I in your letter.

3. 2006 is an election year - be sure to tell candidates to Support Voter-Owned Elections! Both major parties rely heavily on PAC money and very large contributions. It is important that all candidates know there is a reasonable solution so that candidates can focus on the voters and not fundraisers – Voter Owned Elections.

CCI is dedicated to this effort to balance the playing field of Iowa’s democracy; so that all of our voices can be heard and so that our state is not weakened by the polluting influence of big money.

For more information, please contact Tyler Uetz at 515/255-0800 or tyler@iowacci.org

 

Updated 1/17/06

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