The List Of Corporate Donors That Bought Collective Bargaining Vote

If you turned on your TV in Iowa recently, you’d think we’re back in campaign season. Priorities for Iowa is running many TV ads in support of Republicans’ union-busting, anti-collective bargaining bill. The group’s other operations have been funded by giant corporate sponsors from outside the state.

Why have giant corporate hedge funds, coal companies, real estate moguls, bankers, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural conglomerates and the World Wrestling Association spent over $1 million to influence Iowans? Many of these donors are multi-billionaires that give to Republican candidates and support the ALEC agenda. What do these corporate giants expect to get for their investment? The vote Republicans delivered to them yesterday in the Iowa Legislature.

During the debate over the collective bargaining bill, Senator Liz Mathis called out the Priorities for Iowa donors. She read each of their names and the amounts they contributed [Update: These contributions were for the Priorities for Iowa’s PAC, while the TV ads are paid for by the separate, nonpartisan Priorities for Iowa 501c4.]

“To me that’s a problem, there’s a lot of money coming in from outside Iowa to this group that is trying to sway public opinion and twisting it, twisting it, and for us to allow that, it’s wrong, it’s wrong!” Mathis said.

Below are some of the amounts of out-of-state donations to Priorities for Iowa that Senator Mathis read on the Senate floor. It includes the donated amounts, their name, net worth and their business associations.

  1. $50,000 in 2016 from Ken Griffin, Chicago, net worth $7.7 billion, hedge fund manager
  1. $50,000 in 2016 from Robert Mercer, New York, multi-billionaire, computer business (He gave $8 million to Republicans in 2014, including the Ernst campaign.)
  1. $50,000 in 2016 from the Moutaire Corporation, Arkansas, unknown net worth, giant agricultural conglomerate
  1. $250,000 in 2014 from Joseph Craft, Oklahoma, net worth $1.4 billion, head of the third largest coal company
  1. $250,000 in 2014 from Paul Singer, New York, net worth $2.6 Billion, hedge funds
  1. $200,000 in 2014 from Julian Robertson, New York, net worth $3.4 Billion, Tiger management hedge funds
  1. $150,000 in 2014 from Ken Griffin, Chicago, net worth $7.7 billion, hedge fund manager
  1. $100,000 in 2014 from Marcus Hiles, Texas, net worth multi-billionaire, real estate mogul
  1. $100,000 in 2014 from Linda McMahon, Connecticut, unknown net worth, World Wrestling Federation
  1. $100,000 from William Oberndorf in 2014, California, multi-billionaire, hedge funds, major funder of privatization of education through ALEC
  1. $70,000 in 2014 from Financial Education and Advocacy Initiative Inc., Maryland, funded by the American Bankers Association, budget unknown as they’re not required to divulge their donors
  1. $25,000 in 2014 from the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America, Chicago, which contributed over $1 million to various political groups in 2016
  1. $25,000 in 2014 from Richard Roberts, New Jersey, net worth unknown, Mutual Pharmaceutical executive

The Priorities for Iowa TV ads promoted the destruction of the Iowa’s current collective bargaining law by claiming, “It would make it easier to keep good teachers and remove the occasional bad ones.” A portion of the ad said, “It’s time to return control to local school boards and parents so they can reward excellent educators.”

This legislation did the exact opposite by limiting what local governments could bargain with their employees about. The resulting lower wages and fewer benefits will drive Iowa’s best teachers out of the state, not keep them here. Democratic legislators challenged the Republican talking points repeatedly, but it was clear the Republicans had made up their minds to side with their corporate donors.

It’s obvious after the Iowa Republicans voted for the destruction of the 43-year-old collective bargaining law, these corporate titans got exactly what they paid to obtain. These corporate masters demanded Iowa Republican legislators vote for their anti-labor agenda and the Republicans delivered on their part of the bargain. Republicans ignored teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and all the 180,000 public sector employees that pleaded with them to slow down and listen. The Republican-controlled legislature chose instead to vote with the Priorities for Iowa donors that demanded compliance.

Democrats in the House and Senate fought a valiant fight. The unions and public eagerly came to the Capitol, made phone calls and challenged Republican legislators. It’s essential we maintain this energy and enthusiasm into the 2018 elections so we can reverse this horrific mistake.


by Rick Smith
Posted 2/17/17

9 Comments on "The List Of Corporate Donors That Bought Collective Bargaining Vote"

  • Seldom do corporations do great things for the working stiff. I’m sure they are hoping for lower property taxes, lower operating costs, and fewer price hikes in the future. But their greed accidentally may have brought many of the same benefits to Iowa homeowners, small business persons, and even tourists traveling through the state. Yes, sometimes greedy corporations do the little guy a favor by accident.

    • This will not help the average Iowan or tourist. The reason that budget cuts happened in the middle of the year was the $500 million tax credits given yearly to large and out out of state corporations. Lowering these costs are simply away to money away from public employees and give that “surplus” to big corporations. Iowa is diving to the bottom of the wage scale race.

      The legislature has cut the take home pay of public employees and limited salary increases forever. Plus, they are going to roll back minimum wage increases that have taken place across this state.

      This is such a bad law, that the administrations of 140 school districts rushed negotiations this year and finished before the Governor signed this awful and probably unconstitutional bill.

  • Is there a list of individual senators and representatives who received campaign contributions from any of these corporate entities and, if so,who are they and what was the amount given?

  • If you think there will be lower property taxes because of this, you are delusional. Taxes do not go down, especially property tax. Sure you can trash your home and then call your county assessor for a new assessment in hopes to lower your taxes, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t a good trade for Union busting. Greed is never ever good for the working class.

  • Ironic that the speaking point for Republicans was giving back local control to districts, yet the a large portion of PAC money was donated from out of state contributors. “Hypocrisy” in action!

  • If you voted for a republican Governor you should be VERY Happy YOU got what exactly YOU voted for……..

  • Property tax relief? Give me a break! Ask the many like us who just received a 25% increase in our tax assessment….looks more like property relief.

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