I can't think of a better argument for clean elections. Gipp is opposed this year, but it's not a serious race: his opponent, Thomas Hansen, claims to have raised $249 for his campaign. Since May 19, Gipp has taken the following donations from PACs:
|PAC||Donations||Amount||% of total||% of Opp.|
|Associated General Contractors of Iowa||1||$5000||9.63%||2008%|
|Bankers Unite in Legislative Decisions||1||$5000||9.63%||2008%|
|Iowa Realtors PAC||1||$2500||4.82%||1004%|
|Deere and Company PAC||1||$2000||3.85%||803%|
|Meredith Corporation Employees Fund for Better Gov't||1||$1500||2.89%||602%|
|Heavy Highway PAC||1||$1000||1.93||402%|
|Iowa Industry PAC||1||$1000||1.93%||402%|
|Iowa Telecommunications Assoc PAC||1||$1000||1.93%||402%|
|Monsanto citizenship Fund||1||$1000||1.93%||402%|
|Waste Management Inc. Employees' Better Gov't Fund||1||$1000||1.93%||402%|
|Iowa Cable PAC||2||$750||1.44%||301%|
|Citigroup Inc PAC||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Homebuilders Assoc PAC||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Iowa Optometric Assoc||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Iowa Veterinary Assoc||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Manufactured Housing PAC||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Medco Health Solutions PAC||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Principal Life Insurance PAC||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Roche Inc. Good Gov't Committee||1||$500||0.96%||201%|
|Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa PAC||1||$250||0.48%||100%|
|Iowa Friends of Rural Electrification||1||$250||0.48%||100%|
|Iowa Rural Water State PAC||1||$250||0.48%||100%|
|Iowa Chiropractic Society PAC||1||$200||0.39%||80%|
|Property Casual Insurers PAC||1||$150||0.29%||60%|
|Iowa Assoc. of Nurse Anesthetists PAC||1||$100||0.19%||40%|
|Verizon Iowa State Good Gov't PAC||1||$100||0.19%||40%|
|Iowa Insurance Institute PAC||1||$50||0.10%||20%|
KEY: % of total = Percentage of Gipp's total donations from May 19-July 19 represented by that PAC.
% of Opp. = That donation as a percent of Gipp's opponent (Tom Hansen)'s fundraising total.
As you can see, 65% of Gipp's donations, or over $33,000 in two months, have come from PACs. Take a look at that list again. Would you be comfortable with all those groups influencing your legislator? I'm not.
Now, I'm not saying Tom Hansen would win if a Clean Elections Law was in place. What I am saying is this: The current system allows political action committees to give so much money to candidates that it scares potential serious challengers off the field.
Whether you agree with Gipp's politics or you don't, I think we can all agree that he and many others in his position don't deserve repeated free passes. The only way to allow challengers to compete with them is to pass a Clean Elections Law to level the playing field.