Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has received more than $790,000 in campaign contributions from his political appointees, according to a new analysis.
Nearly 1 in 6 of his appointees have contributed money to his campaigns, donating anywhere from $10 to slightly more than $220,000, according to the report jointly released by Progress Iowa and the Iowa Accountability Project. The records span his current campaign and the 2010 campaign that brought him back to office after a decade-long hiatus. Branstad served as governor from 1983 to 1999 and returned in 2011. He is now the longest-serving state governor in history.
Nearly half of all contributions from his political appointees came from the three top donors:
- Branstad’s top appointee-donor, Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter, far outspent any other. He has contributed a total of $224,243 to Branstad’s campaigns. (And he happens also to be a nationally prominent GOP donor.)
- The second-largest total contribution came from Mary Andringa, who was named co-chairwoman of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council last year. She’s contributed $92,215.
- Third place went to Rastetter’s brother Brent, who sits on the state’s Environmental Protection Commission and has donated $41,000.
Of the roughly 1300 political appointees examined, 16 percent have made campaign contributions to Branstad.
“Governor Branstad is proud to have the support of more than 15,000 individuals who have contributed to his campaign financially and thousands more who stand with his record of job creation, balancing the state budget, reforming education and signing the largest tax cut in Iowa history,” campaign spokesman Tommy Schultz said in an e-mail. The campaign announced last week that it had roughly $4.5 million cash-on-hand.
The group that conducted the analysis criticized the governor for having a too-cozy relationship with his appointees.
“The campaign donations highlighted in this report show that Governor Branstad has put the interests of his donors ahead of Iowans,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “It also demonstrates that Governor Branstad’s fundraising comes at the direct expense of open and transparent government.”
According to the analysis, 14 Branstad appointees have contributed more than $10,000 to his campaigns. Another 56 have contributed $1,000 or more and an additional 119 have given $100 or more.