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May 15th, 2013

Will IDP Go After Chet Culver Next?

On Tuesday, the Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against State Auditor Mary Mosiman.  It was her second day on the job.

The Iowa Democratic Party contends that Mosiman violated state campaign finance laws when she used funds from her Story County Auditor campaign fund to pay for travel to county Republican conventions in 2012.  Mosiman also used campaign funds to pay for training sessions conducted by the Iowa Society of CPA’s.  All told, Mosiman spent $1,461.18 from her campaign account in 2012.

Using campaign funds to cover the cost of political travel and educational purposes are acceptable uses of campaign funds, but Iowa Democrats contend that since Mosiman was no longer an office holder and was not seeking election to any political office when she made the expenditures, the use of campaign funds was solely for ‘personal benefit.’

Iowa Code section 68A.302 states the following as appropriate use of campaign funds.

A candidate and the candidate’s committee shall use campaign funds only for campaign purposes, educational and other expenses associated with the duties of office, or constituency services, and shall not use campaign funds for personal expenses or personal benefit.

The Iowa Code then goes in to more depth as to what campaign funds can and cannot be used for.  Mosiman’s use of campaign funds likely fall into a grey area since she used the funds for legitimate purposes, but the she did so as a state employee not an elected official.  All in all, it seems like the Iowa Democratic Party is just trying to intimidate Mosiman on her first full day on the job.

Maybe instead of trying to find fault with Mosiman, the Iowa Democratic Party should police its own candidates first.

Former Governor Chet Culver has used campaign funds to pay for all sorts of things since leaving office.  There is his storage unit at Fleur Mini Storage that he paid $180.20 a month for from January of 2012 thru July of 2012.  One could say that was a personal benefit of $1,261.40. Culver also used campaign funds to pay for a $1500 event at Lucca, an upscale Restaurant in the East Village of Des Moines, in August of 2011.  Culver also spent $1,705.05 on out-of-state travel and food expenses in March of 2011.

If we are using the Iowa Democrat’s definition of “personal benefit” then Culver’s use of campaign funds for airline tickets, rental cars, fast food, mini storage, and $1500 dinners is a far more blatant violation of the rules than Mosiman taking CPA classes.

Iowa Democrats know that their complaint against Mosiman isn’t going anywhere, but they have already accomplished their goal of smearing a Republican when the Des Moines Register published their hit piece.

Perhaps what this all really tells us is that Governor Branstad’s selection of Mosiman was a good one. Seeing Democrats attack her on her first day on the job sends a signal that they are going to have a hard time finding a quality candidate to run against her in 2014.

I guess the Iowa Democrats’ war on conservative women continues as does the use of the Des Moines Register to smear Republicans with baseless ethics complaints.


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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