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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

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.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

(Photo: Video Capture)
(Photo: Video Capture)

Roemer, Colbert take on political manuevers by Rove, Nebraska Dems

By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11 | 9:24 am

Comedian Stephen Colbert, who long ago mixed reality and comedy with the formation of his own Super PAC, has offered back-hand support of a Federal Elections Commission request by American Crossroads to feature federal candidates in ads developed and marketed by the PAC.

Third-party organizations such as PACs, under FEC rules, are not allowed to coordinate or work directly with candidate campaigns except under very limited circumstances. But recently the Nebraska Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pushed that envelope by developing television and radio political advertisements that featured U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who is expected to appear on the 2012 ballot. (Nelson has not yet officially launched his 2012 bid and has said he will make his decision next month.)

State Democrats, the DSCC and the Nelson campaign maintain that the ads are not campaign ads because no one is asked directly to support Nelson’s election. Instead, they say, these are issue ads, or ads that are intended to educate voters on specific issues and/or policy debates. It’s estimated that roughly $1 million has been spent on the ad campaign thus far; and, according to Nelson’s campaign, similar ads were run in 2006 at a tune of roughly $1.5 million.

In response, Nebraska Republicans filed a complaint with the FEC, charging that the ads are veiled campaign messages intended for Nelson’s reelection and, therefore, far exceed the $240,000 cap on such coordinated pushes. And American Crossroads, a conservative group founded by Karl Rove, has asked the FEC for an advisory opinion to determine if it can “adopt the tactics” and use federal candidates in its ads. If the FEC rules that such advertisements are indeed issue-based, state parties will no longer be subject to a cap on how much they can spent to help the election hopes of a candidate and third-party groups will have a whole new political buffet at the ready.

On his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, Colbert provided his typical take on the controversy before bringing in his attorney and former FEC head Trever Potter to discuss if the Colbert Super PAC could get in on the action.

“These Ben Nelson issue ads and the kinds of ads that Karl wants to run, they’re not campaign ads, right?” asked Colbert. “They’re just issue ads that happen to have the candidate in them who is campaigning for office. Just because someone is in my ad doesn’t mean that we are coordinating with their campaign — anymore than just because [or] if my penis was in someone’s vagina doesn’t mean we are having sex.”

Ultimately, Colbert signs a letter to the FEC asking the body to approve the American Crossroads’ request. In addition to the letter, which was not read on air, Colbert developed a sample ad, embedded below and featuring former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, to show the FEC members how approving the request would play out in advertisements.

It isn’t the first time Roemer has appeared on The Colbert Report, nor is is the first time the Democrat-turned-Republican has taken on special interest money in politics. His campaign has has a self-imposed ban on special interest money, and will only accept individual contributions of $100 or less.

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