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Iowa companies invest nearly $250K in California ballot measure
Thirteen Iowa companies have made nearly a quarter of a million dollars in donations to Californians for SAFE Food – No on Prop2, a coalition organized to fight a ballot measure amending the state’s health and safety code in relation to the confinement of livestock. The donations, most of which were only recently disclosed by the organization, have become the subject of a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Yes! on Prop 2 – Californians for Humane Farms, a group supporting the ballot measure, filed an initial complaint on Sept. 3 against the United Egg Producers, Inc., the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and No on Prop 2 that charged the entities were hiding major donations by filtering them through corporate channels. The donations, many of which had been announced by the United Egg Producers in a July 15 fund-raising letter, fell under California regulations that donations of $5,000 or more be reported within 10 business days. State law also requires contributions of more than $1,000 made within the final 90 days before an election be reported within 24 hours.
On Sept. 5 — two days after the initial complaint had been filed with the ethics board — the opposition group submitted a 76-page late contribution report to the state, listing more than $4.5 million in contributions. Each of the contributions were listed as being received through the United Egg Producers, which served as an “intermediary” for the transactions. Three additional reports detailing late contributions have been filed, but all three combined don’t compare to the Sept. 5 filing.
The group supporting Proposition 2 filed a second complaint with the ethics board following the massive disclosure by the opposition.
“The opponents of Prop 2 have been caught red-handed in one of the biggest campaign money laundering schemes of all time,” charged Jennifer Fearing, manager of the Yes! on Prop 2 campaign. “The infusion of millions of dollars from out-of-state factory farms provides plain evidence that the national factory farming industry is deeply worried that passing Proposition 2 will result in increased scrutiny of their own inhumane practices.”
Iowa companies whose campaign contributions were disclosed on the September late filing statements are:
- Center Fresh Egg Farm, Sioux Center — $40,000
- Dooyema & Sons, Sioux Center — $4,500
- eCow, Waukon — $2,500
- Fremont Farms of Iowa, Malcom — $25,000
- Galt Real Estate, Galt — $100,000
- Great Plains Protein, Iowa Falls — $1,000
- Henning Construction Company, Johnson — $10,000
- Henning ConstructionÂ Company, Johnson — $5,000
- Hy-Line North America, West Des Moines — $30,000
- MC. Anderson Pullets, Sioux Rapids — $1,000
- Naturally Recycled Proteins, Johnson — $2,500
- Sioux Country Egg Farm, Sioux Center — $10,000
Prior to the late filings, three Iowa companies had donated to the opposition campaign. They are Hy-Line North America of West Des Moines ($10,000), Iowa Poultry Association of Urbandale ($1,000) and Bosma Poultry, Inc. of Sibley ($100).
If found guilty, both the United Egg Producers and its donors could face criminal prosecution and fines, which could range from $5,000 to a maximum of three times the unreported contribution for each violation.