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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Lawmaker seeks change in attack ad rules

Thursday, February 5, 2009

DES MOINES - Iowa's Senate president is backing an effort to make clear who is behind campaign attack ads that don't specifically urge a vote.

Sen. Jack Kibbie said Tuesday he wants to improve transparency and end the increasingly popular practice.

"People ought to know where these ads are coming from," said Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg.

Under current rules, groups can broadcast commercials attacking or praising candidates without disclosing who is paying for the ads as long as they don't specifically tell people how to vote.

Charles Smithson, executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, said the practice is increasingly popular.

"Everybody does it," said Smithson. "It's a growing area because it's a way to influence the outcome of an election without disclosing who is paying for it."

The measure would apply in the 45 days leading up to an election and would cover spending of $750 or more, Kibbie said.

"Anything we can do to get more transparency in these elections we ought to be doing," said Kibbie.

The disclosure measure has won committee approval in the Senate, but has yet to be scheduled for debate in the full Senate.

Kibbie is pushing for the measure along with a proposal to expand electronic filing of campaign finance reports to make it easier to find information about candidates.

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