‘Dark Money’ Ties Raise Questions for GOP Sen. Ernst of Iowa

An outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst has worked closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects, a degree of overlap that potentially violates the law. “It seems like pretty strong evidence” that the $50,000 request was for an “illegal donation” while it’s “clear that the goal of Iowa Values is to reelect Joni Ernst, which may violate its tax-exempt status,” said Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington. He also said the documents pulled back the curtain on how dark money works. “This is a striking example of how secret campaign money operates,” Fischer said. “The big donors that bankroll a dark money group like Iowa Values remain hidden from the public, but the politician that benefits knows where the money is coming from.”

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