Dear U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer:
We write to you as longtime Iowa political activists, asking that you, and allied groups and individuals working in concert with you, cease and desist unwelcomed interference in the Iowa Democratic Party’s primary campaign to nominate our candidate for the United States Senate seat now held by Republican Joni Ernst.
Four progressive Democratic candidates have engaged in a spirited primary race. We believe that Sen. Ernst is particularly vulnerable and can be beaten. No daylight separates her from either Republican Leader Mitch McConnell or President Donald Trump, both of whom suffer from diminishing public support in Iowa.
Iowa Democrats value level campaign playing fields, uncontaminated by influences of dark outside money — the kind of funds regrettably allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v FEC decision a decade ago. The unprecedented intervention by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and its associated pressure groups into our U.S. Senate primary campaign has created a treacherous playing field that is hardly level.
In response to the DSCC’s encouragements, reportedly more than $10 million of DSCC-related funding, much of it coming from out-of-state, deep-pocket sources — a Who’s Who list of Wall Street lawyers, Washington, D.C., K-Street lobbyists and dark-sourced political action committees — have been poured into Iowa to support the candidacy of one of the primary election candidates, Theresa Greenfield.
As the person firmly in control of the DSCC and most influential with its allies, your efforts have not merely placed your thumb upon, but, rather, have stomped your foot print upon, the scales of fairness that have generally characterized the modern Iowa Democratic Party’s primary election processes.
Most disturbing to us, in the closing days of this U.S. Senate primary campaign, many of the commercials sponsored by the DSCC’s allies have gone starkly negative against Theresa Greenfield’s opponents. Supporting a candidate with heavy-handed tactics is one thing, but razing the field of other Democratic hopefuls goes too far. During this divisive time, no one is benefited from tearing down fellow Democrats in this race but Joni Ernst.
These actions unfairly undermine the prospects of progressive Democratic candidates, each of whom have been campaigning hard to stop Mitch McConnell and his minions from: gutting access to affordable health care in the midst of a pandemic; removing important environmental protections; confirming partisan judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench and Supreme Court; and attacking reproductive rights of women.
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Quit big-footing Iowa Democratic Party primary election campaigns. Stand up against, and do not facilitate, the use of dark campaign money regrettably allowed by Citizens United. And, direct those associated with the DSCC immediately to cease and desist the financing of negative attack ads aimed at any Iowa Democratic candidate for elective office.
Sincerely Disappointed Iowa Democrats,
James C. Larew, attorney at law, Iowa City
Daryl Beall, retired state senator, Fort Dodge
Bill Brauch, member, Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee
Nancy Bobo, founder and chair, Women for a Stronger America
Bret A. Nilles, chair, Linn County Democrats
Edward F. Noethe, attorney at law, Council Bluffs
Ruth Thompson, vice chair, Iowa Democratic Party Disability Caucus
Suzette Jensen, former member, Des Moines School Board
Sara Riley, attorney at law, Cedar Rapids
Mary Jo Riesberg, chair, Lee County Democratic Party