Sen. Joni Ernst Busted In Illegal Dark Money Scheme

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) illegally coordinated with a dark money group, and the scandal is making headlines all across Iowa.

The AP reported:
Iowa Values, a political nonprofit that is supposed to be run independently, was co-founded in 2017 by Ernst’s longtime consultant, Jon Kohan. It shares a fundraiser, Claire Holloway Avella, with the Ernst campaign. And a condo owned by a former aide — who was recently hired to lead the group — was used as Iowa Values’ address at a time when he worked for her.

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The documents reviewed by the AP, including emails and a strategy memo, not only make clear that the group’s aim is securing an Ernst win in 2020, but they also show Ernst and her campaign worked in close concert with Iowa Values.

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The AP report is all over the front pages of Iowa’s newspapers:

Ernst was already vulnerable and her seat was a target for a Democratic pickup in 2020. With Trump’s trade war hurting the Republican Party in Iowa, the strong whiff of corruption surrounding Ernst could be enough to give even more momentum to Democrats in the state.

Joni Ernst isn’t often talked about as one of the most vulnerable Republican Senators, but the political landscape in Iowa is worth watching. A moderate Democratic nominee could have a good chance of flipping the state. If Iowa goes blue again, scandals like this, will cost Joni Ernst her seat and bring Democrats closer to taking back the Senate.

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