Montana Governor Steve Bullock blames the radical changes Iowa’s collective bargain laws have undergone in recent years on the so-called “dark money” that’s being funneled into the state, he said during an interview with Starting Line last week.
The Democratic presidential hopeful is fighting back against dark money and foreign money by suing the International Revenue Service over its decision to overturn a decades-old transparency requirement that prevents ultra-wealthy donors and special interest groups from pumping unlimited money into campaigns without disclosure.
Bullock explained there’s been a rule in the books since the Richard Nixon administration that requires nonprofit organizations to report contributions of larger than $5,000 to the IRS.
That way, he said, the IRS could find out if a Russian was giving to a specific group, or if these groups were laundering from one organization to another.
The Secretary of the Treasury got rid of this rule during a meeting with President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Bullock said.
“You can’t get get rid of rules you don’t like because it not only impacts our election, but also impacts the ability of states to oversee charities and to make sure we know who is spending in our elections … there are loopholes you can drive a truck through the way this is all written,” Bullock said.
Iowa has already seen what can happen when rules like this don’t exist, he said, especially now that conservative groups such as ALEC have been flooding Iowa’s legislature with legislation.
The results of those laws include the “constant erosion” of collective bargaining rights in Iowa, Bullock said, along with the de-funding of sex education in schools and Planned Parenthood.
“So much of this was pushed by dark-money groups and groups influencing our elections,” Bullock said.
The same day last week that Bullock took the Trump administration to court over the dark money loophole, Bullock announced his new “Check the Box” policy proposal, which will add a checkbox to IRS and FEC forms requiring dark money groups and Super PACs to certify they aren’t using foreign money in US elections.
“Both serving in the State of Montana and traveling around the country, I have yet to hear one person say to me ‘there’s not enough money in our election,’” Bullock said. “Or ‘there is not enough undisclosed money in the elections.’ That’s sort of the head-scratcher there.”
With 23 other candidates in the presidential race and an unlimited number of topics to discuss, Bullock said fighting the IRS on this is worth his time because “for all those issues people are talking about, so much of it won’t get done until we address what is now post-Citizens United.”
“That’s corrupt dollars in our system,” Bullock said. “Think about how even the first George Bush talked about addressing climate change from the White House. Now Republicans can’t even acknowledge climate change exists.”
by Paige Godden