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Campaign finance requirements for Iowa ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Iowa ballot measures are promulgated by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. The Ethics and Disclosure Board is responsible for administering campaign finance laws in the State of Iowa.

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board maintains a disclosure database for all campaigns registered in support or a opposition of a ballot issue in the State of Iowa.

If someone feels a person or committee violated Iowa campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. All complaints must be accepted before the Board can engage into any investigation. If accepted, the Board can conduct a full investigation into the matter and impose civil penalties if someone is found guilty in violation of the law[1].

The Attorney General is responsible for prosecuting all criminal law violations.

General requirements

Political Committee designation

Any group in support or opposition of a ballot issue under Iowa law is considered to be a Political Committee[2].

Statement of organization

Any Political Committee must file a Statement of Organization within ten days of its organization[3].

Campaign finance requirements

Anonymous contributions

Iowa law prohibits all anonymous contributions to Political Committees[4].

Bank/corporate contributions

Under Iowa law, banks, corporations, and insurance companies can donate to a Political Committee in support or opposition of a ballot issue[5].

Iowa law prohibits contributions to candidates along with state and local party committees from banks, corporations, and insurance companies[6].

Contribution limits

There are no contribution limits to Political Committees in the State of Iowa. Any individual, corporation, labor union, state or local party organization, and Political Action Committees can donate to a Ballot Issue PAC.

Reporting requirements and reports

Iowa runs its campaign finance reporting on a quarterly and annual basis during the election year along with off-year annual reports.

May 19 report

The May 19 report is the first campaign finance report of the election cycle. The report covers all campaign finance activity from when a ballot issue first qualified or January 1 (if the committee was formed in the year before) to May 14th. The report is due on May 19th[7].

July 19 report

The July 19th report is the second campaign finance report of the cycle. The report covers all campaign finance activity from May 15th to July 14th. The report is due on July 19th[7].

October 19 pre-election

The October 19th pre-election report is the first of two mandated pre-election reports. The report covers campaign finance activity from July 15th to October 14th. The report is due on October 19th[7].

5 day pre-election

The five day pre-election report is the second mandated pre-election report. The report covers all campaign finance activity from October 15th until ten days before the general election. The report is due five days before the general election[7].

January 19th Annual

The January 19th annual report is a cumulative campaign finance report covering all campaign finance activity from January 1st to December 31st in the calendar year. The annual report is due on January 19th[7].

Campaign advertising restrictions

Under Iowa law, all campaign advertisements including print and online ads must include a "Paid for by" attribution on the advertisement[8]. All radio and television ads must follow the "stand by your ad" clause in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill[9].

Terminating a committee

In order to terminate a committee, judicial campaigns must settle all outstanding debts and obligations. In addition, the campaign must dispose campaign property valued over $100, disburse all surplus funds, file a final campaign finance report with a bank statement, and file a termination statement within 30 days of dissolving[10].

External links

References