Follow the Money: Ernst’s Out-Of-Step Positions Align with Out-of-State Billionaire Backers

Posted by

Des Moines – Joni Ernst’s campaign has long been bankrolled by outside oil and Wall Street billionaires like the Koch Brothers and New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer, and in return they are expecting a U.S. Senator to take their out-of-step, anti-Iowa positions. Unfortunately for working Iowans, Joni Ernst is the candidate of the special interests’ dreams.

After attending a Koch Brother seminar last summer, and thanking the Kochs for running misleading advertisements in Iowa, money from the Koch network started to flow into Ernst’s campaign. Meanwhile, Mercer’s American Heartland PAC spent close to $250,000 on behalf of Ernst during the primary campaign.  And for those looking to find where Joni Ernst stands on the issues important to Iowans, it’s a fairly easy path back to the positions of these oil and Wall Street billionaires:

  • The Koch brothers want to repeal the minimum wage instead of give 300,000 Iowans a raise–>so does Joni Ernst
  • David Koch called Social Security “the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war”–>Joni Ernst wants to privatize Social Security for our younger generation
  • The Koch brothers’ strongly support the Paul Ryan plan that turns Medicare into a voucher program and provides tax breaks for the rich and oil companies like Koch Industries–>Ernst actually doesn’t believe the Ryan plan goes far enough
  • The Koch brothers opposed the bipartisan, comprehensive Farm Bill supported by every member of Iowa’s U.S. House delegation–>so did Joni Ernst
  • The Koch brothers’ dark money super PAC, Americans For Prosperity, supports permanently repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard–>Joni Ernst is “philosophically opposed” to the RFS, and has said she would support removing all energy subsidies “across the board”
  • The Koch brothers support tax cuts for billionaires like themselves and Mercer–>Joni Ernst supports a flat tax that would reduce the tax burden on the very rich, but increase it for lower-income groups

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan said, “Joni Ernst is a dream candidate for oil and Wall Street billionaires trying to buy Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat, but her anti-Iowa positions would be a nightmare for our state’s families. The out-of-state billionaires backing Ernst’s campaign want to undercut the foundation of Iowa’s middle class—a strong Social Security and Medicare program, a livable wage, and pro-Iowa agriculture policies—in order to enrich their own coffers. But instead of standing up to these anti-Iowa special interests, Ernst is more than happy to embrace them and their out-of-step positions.”




Ernst Attended A Koch Bros Seminar Which “Typically Conclude With Pledge Sessions That Can Raise Tens Of Millions Of Dollars.” In January 2014, Politico reported, “The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are convening some of the country’s richest Republican donors on Sunday at a resort near Palm Springs, Calif., to raise millions of dollars for efforts to shape the political landscape for years to come.”Politico continued, “The last seminar, held in August outside Albuquerque, N.M., drew Rep. Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Iowa state legislator Joni Ernst, who is running in a crowded GOP Senate primary. The seminars typically conclude with pledge sessions that can raise tens of millions of dollars.” [Politico, 1/24/14]


Ernst Thanked AFP For Running TV Ads Against Braley. In January 2014, Ernst posted the following message to her Facebook page: “Thankful AFP – Iowa is highlighting Bruce #BraleysObamacare with a new television ad! Time for Braley to own up to the broken promises he made to Iowans. #IASEN.” [Ernst facebook page, posted 1/15/14]

Robert Mercer Bankrolled American Heartland PAC TV Ads Supporting Ernst, Attacking Jacobs. In May 2014, The Quad-City Times reported, “New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer is the person behind TV ads that have criticized Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs and praised rival Joni Ernst, according to a filling with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. American Heartland PAC has spent about $246,000 in the Republican primary race, according to the FEC, with a bit more than half of it going to pay for TV ads criticizing Jacobs. Mercer is co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies and donated $200,000 to American Heartland PAC, according to a filing with the FEC on Thursday… The American Heartland PAC ads have helped to even the playing field between Ernst and Jacobs, who at the end of March had put $1.6 million of his own money into the primary race and had been outpacing Ernst in TV advertising.” [Quad City Times, 5/22/14]

Jacobs’ Campaign Accused Ernst Of Being Responsible For Mercer’s Ad Campaign: “Something Doesn’t Smell Right.” In May 2014, The Quad-City Times reported,Brian Dumas, Jacobs’ campaign manager, blamed Ernst for the ads. ‘Joni Ernst has relied on out-of-state special interests to attack Mark Jacobs,’ he said. ‘Voters should ask themselves, before they vote, will Joni Ernst represent them or a New York billionaire who’s willing to spend $200,000 to attack Mark Jacobs and support Joni Ernst. Something doesn’t smell right.’” [Quad-City Times, 5/22/14]



# # #



About The Party

The Iowa Democratic Party is dedicated to promoting Democratic principles across the state of Iowa and electing qualified and dedicated candidates at all levels of government.

We’re made up of a State Central Committee, 99 county chairs and thousands of involved Iowans who care deeply about their state and want to see it be a model for the other 49. Learn more…

Photos on Flickr

See more on our Flickr.



Paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee