Michael Franken, one of Theresa Greenfield’s opponents in the Iowa Senate Democrat primary race, on Tuesday called on Greenfield to “disavow” dark money aiding her campaign.
The Senate Majority PAC, a Democrat Super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), launched a seven-figure television and digital ad in support of Greenfield’s efforts to oust Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) during the 2020 elections.
Rachel Irwin, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority PAC, said that Ernst has become “more vulnerable by the day” while Iowans are “energized by Theresa’s story and her grit.”
The ad portrays Greenfield as a businesswoman who grew up on a family farm, worked part-time jobs to get through college, and raised two boys as a single mom.
The Senate Majority PAC ad follows as the Iowa Democrat released a policy proposal that would root out “coordination with outside political groups.”
Greenfield wrote in the proposal:
We need to enact legislation to ensure that these outside groups truly act independently, and not as an arm of any campaign, by banning internal firewalls and preventing overlap between candidates and their agents.
However, Greenfield released a memo recently to her campaign website that includes talking points for Greenfield and includes b-roll footage, which was subsequently used in the Schumer Super PAC ad.
Politico reported in 2018 how many Democrat campaigns, including former Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO), used this strategy to give extra material to outside groups to use for ads without violating federal election law.
The nonpartisan Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed an ethics complaint this cycle against Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) for using this strategy of posting b-roll footage and subsequently circumventing coordination laws with outside political groups.
Brook Ramlet, a senior advisor for the Ernst campaign, told CNN that Greenfield is a “complete political hypocrite” for pledging not to accept corporate PAC money, while her campaign releases material that could be used for ads.
The Ernst senior advisor said that Greenfield “should call on Schumer’s PAC to stay out of the race.”
Jesse Hunt, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), called Greenfield hypocritical with regards to her pledge to fight corruption and end coordination with outside political groups.
Dem Senate candidate hypocrisy is something to behold:
1st: Greenfield signals to outside groups
2nd: Dark $ group attacks her opponent
3rd: She attacks corporate $, dark $, & special interests
4th: Outside group funded by corporate $ and special interests props her up on TV pic.twitter.com/fHJyITLjtP
— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) February 24, 2020
Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement Monday that Democrats are panicking over Greenfield’s prospects. Kaufmann said:
Chuck Schumer is panicking as his PAC rushes to prop up Theresa Greenfield’s flailing campaign. Greenfield, who has been hypocritically railing against corporate money, special interests and dark outside spending is helping the PAC when she thinks no one is watching because she is depending on that very money to throw her campaign a lifeline. Plain and simple, Greenfield is a hypocrite and she must call on Schumer’s PAC to stay out of Iowa.
Franken, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and one of Greenfield’s primary opponents, called on Greenfield to honor her anti-dark money pledge and urge Senate Majority PAC to pull its ad.
Franken wrote on Tuesday:
To understand the sordid character behind Senate Majority PAC and Theresa Greenfield’s new ad, take a look at who’s funding it: Corporations, Media Moguls, Big Pharma. Last cycle, Bain Capital gave $750,000 to Senate Majority PAC. We’re old enough to remember what Bain Capital meant in 2012; that any candidate would welcome Bain money into our race goes against this state’s values. We should expect better of our candidates for U.S. Senate, and we should not stoop to Joni Ernst’s level.
“I’m calling on Theresa Greenfield to honor the anti-dark money pledge we all swore and disavow such craven interference in our primary election. She must demand that Senate Majority PAC pull her ad before it hits the air,” he added.