Iowa senate candidates file financial disclosure reports

Data can show their financial interests

Four of six GOP candidates running for U.S. Senate in Iowa have financial disclosure reports posted online that shed light on their income, investments and board involvement.

Scott Schaben’s report is not posted in the Senate Public Financial Disclosure Database, but the Ames candidate said he filed it last month. The Senate’s public records office told Schaben there would be posting delays because of the government shutdown in October.

Paul Lunde, also of Ames, has not yet reached the fundraising threshold requiring a financial disclosure report.

Rep. Bruce Braley, the only Democrat running to succeed Sen. Tom Harkin, isn’t required to file the same disclosure documents as candidates not in Congress.

Financial disclosure reports aren’t intended to judge a candidate’s net worth, and often it’s difficult to do so because asset values are listed as ranges. But the reports let the public know about candidates’ financial interests and possibly prevent conflicts of interest.

The candidates (Click on name of candidates to view PDF of report filed)

Sam Clovis, 64, of Sioux City, lists several sources of income, including $107,237 in salary from Morningside College where he is a professor, and $5,950 in salary as a radio talk show host. The Defense Department paid Clovis $30,261 in retirement pay, according to the report, and Mac Consulting Services paid the candidate $2,876.

Clovis lists as assets his bank account, retirement fund and a rental house in Oskaloosa. He owes money on two credit cards and has mortgages on the rental property.

Clovis is president of two non-governmental groups, the Conservative Alliance of Iowa and the Serious Civics for America, both based in Hinton.

Joni Ernst, 43, of Red Oak, was paid $39,676 by the state from Jan. 1, 2012, to July 10 for her position as a state senator, according to her disclosure. She drew another $34,000 during that period from the Iowa National Guard, where she is a lieutenant colonel.

Ernst lists a variety of Individual Retirement Accounts and other saving plans. She reports no assets in non-publicly traded entities. The sole liability Ernst notes on the report is a $15,001 to $50,000 loan on a camper.

Matt Whitaker, 44, of Ankeny, reports being paid $79,000 in 2012 by his Des Moines law firm, Whitaker, Hagenow & Gustoff. The former U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Southern District also was paid director’s fees of $7,200 by the State Savings Bank in Baxter and $12,000 by Merit Resources of Urbandale.

Whitaker has invested money in his business, an Ankeny child care center, State Savings Bank, Merit Resources and several rental properties, his disclosure states. His only listed liability is his home mortgage.

Whitaker disclosed 14 legal clients who have paid his business at least $5,000 in 2012. These include the National Rifle Association; Wendy Weiner Runge, a Minneapolis film producer sentenced in 2011 to 10 years in prison for fraudulently receiving state tax credits; and Rick Beckwith, the CEO of Fareway.

David Young, 45, of Van Meter, doesn’t list any earned income, such as a salary or fees, for Jan. 1, 2012, through June 1, despite working as Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff until earlier this year. Young does say he was paid at least $5,000 by the Grassley Committee for fundraising services.

Young reports holding stock in Casey’s, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, as well as having several bank accounts. He also gets rent for a Washington, D.C., house valued at $500,000 to $1 million.

Braley’s latest periodic transaction report, filed June 13, lists 13 stock purchases during the first four months of 2013 each valued between $1,000 and $15,000. The report has the same number of stock sales with the same value ranges during the same period.Once Senate candidates raise or spend $5,000 they must file financial disclosure reports within 30 days or by May 15, whichever is later. Late filers are fined $200 and the Attorney General can pursue a $50,000 fine for anyone who knowingly and willfully fails to file a report.

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