IA-01: Democrats File FEC Complaint Against Iowa-Based Super PAC

Iowa's 1st District

By Elizabeth Meyer

June 25, 2020

The Iowa Democratic Party this week filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, asking it to investigate a Marion-based super PAC that has not publicly reported the money it has spent on a radio ad critical of Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer.

According to the IDP’s Monday complaint, Americas PAC began running paid radio advertising May 13 “that misleadingly attacks both Democrats in general and Rep. Abby Finkenauer specifically for their efforts to keep Americans safe and fight the COVID-19 pandemic so we can reopen our economy effectively.”

The ad says, in part: “Republicans understand people just want to get back to normal life, safely. But Democrats like Abby Finkenauer and Nancy Pelosi just want to keep everyone locked down.”

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In 2019, Tom Donelson of Marion, the head of Americas PAC, filed independent expenditure reports with the FEC showing the PAC spent $226,560 on ads opposing Finkenauer.

Even though the latest ad has been on the radio for more than a month, the IDP points out America’s PAC failed to file an independent expenditure report within 48 hours of the ad airing, as required by campaign finance law.

“I urge the Federal Election Commission to take action to remedy this violation of its regulations so that Iowa voters can know who is behind the political advertising they hear on the radio,” said Mark Smith, chair of the IDP, in a letter to the FEC.

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FEC filings show the last time Americas PAC filed an independent expenditure report was May 13 when the group disclosed that it spent $1.3 million on ads supporting Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.

Since the start of 2019, Richard Uihlein, a shipping magnate from Illinois, has donated $4.5 million to Americas PAC. Only $6,562 of the PAC’s revenue has come from other sources.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 6/24/20

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