Spending in Iowa’s recent state Supreme Court retention election was the fifth highest of 10 high-profile state supreme court races in 2012 and 2013, a new investigation shows. A Center for Public Integrity investigation shows out-of-state influence likely helped decide races in Iowa, North Carolina and Mississippi.
When it comes to telling voters who is spending money on political ads, Iowa fails. It got an “F” in a recent study on state disclosure policies for political spending by independent groups, or groups not connected to political candidates. Iowa was among 25 other states that received failing grades. This kind of anonymous spending threatens the transparency of elections, said Arthur Sanders, a political science professor at Drake University. If a group spends $10,000 on ads, voters have no way of knowing where the $10,000 came from.
ByChris Young, Reity O’Brien and Andrea Fuller/Center for Public Integrity |
Conservative foundations, multinational oil companies and a prescription drug maker were the most frequent sponsors of more than 100 expense-paid educational seminars attended by federal judges over a 4 1/2-year period, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. View interactive list of judges.
The State Integrity Investigation, a national investigation last year by news organizations that included IowaWatch and The Gazette of Cedar Rapids into how open government is in all 50 states, was one of five finalists for this year’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The Chicago Tribune won the $25,000 prize, which was awarded this week (March 5) by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The State Integrity Investigation, devised and led by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, created a tool for measuring how effective open records and open government laws are in curbing corruption and promoting accountability and openness in each U.S. state. The results included accelerated reform in government and an increase in disclosure requirements in many states. Reporters from IowaWatch and The Gazette conducted the Iowa portion of the study.