Judge rules feds must act after GOP senator caught coordinating with dark money group
On Wednesday, the Quad-City Times reported that a federal judge is ordering the Federal Election Commission to investigate a "dark money" group accused of improper coordination with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).
"A U.S. District Court judge has entered a default judgment against the Federal Election Commission, ordering it to take action on a complaint involving a so-called dark-money group tied to Sen. Joni Ernst's campaign," reported Gary Krambeck. "The action Wednesday was brought by the left-leaning Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, which told the court the FEC had failed to take action on its complaint that Ernst's campaign had illegally coordinated with the dark-money group, Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing Ernst."
"According to a July 2019 email obtained by The Associated Press, an Ernst campaign consultant asked a donor to make a $50,000 contribution to Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing the incumbent Republican, after Ernst introduced the two," said the report.
Even after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, it is illegal for campaigns, whose donors face strict legal limits, to directly work with outside political nonprofits, who can spend as much as they want. However, the FEC is currently not enforcing these rules, mainly because it lacks the quorum to meet and conduct business in the first place.
Ernst, who is facing a tough re-election battle against Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, has denied she did anything improper.