Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
American Future Fund accused of violating campaign finance law
The three groups — Public Citizen, Protect Our Elections and the Center for Media and Democracy — are asking the FEC to investigate whether American Future Fund should register as a political action committee for its huge expenditures on the upcoming elections. Doing so would force the group disclose its donors and its spending. It is currently registered with the IRS as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, meaning it does not have to disclose its donors but cannot have a primary purpose of influencing elections.
American Future Fund has promised to spend $25 million this fall attacking Democrats in competitive congressional races around the country. Here in Iowa, it has spent nearly $1 million attacking U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley. In their complaint, the groups alleges that AFF has spent more than half its advertising spending this year on television ads that expressly call on voters to vote for or against particular candidates.
“American Future Fund is pulling out the stops to ensure that Republicans are elected this November,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen. “That imposes on the group the legal duty to register with the FEC and disclose exactly who is funding all those expenditures.”
American Future Fund’s leadership has numerous ties to the 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign of Mitt Romney and the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Terry Branstad. The New York Times reported earlier this month the group was founded with seed money from ethanol businessman Bruce Rastetter, and thus, have routinely focused on supporting pro-ethanol politicians and opposing anyone who opposes the best interests of Rastetter’s business holdings. In Michigan, the group is attacking Democrat Mark Schauer, who last year propose legislation that he said was designed to fix a 2004 law that had “artificially inflated commercial ethanol market prices.”