New Documents Detail How Kochs Launched Ernst's Campaign

Nov 13, 2015

Back in 2013, Joni Ernst was a little known state senator and a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. Today, she’s the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress.

Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter for Politico, published an article yesterday detailing how the Koch brothers and their political network helped launch Ernst’s campaign. He says Ernst was a “beta test” for the Kochs.

“They started to conclude that they would have to start dipping their toes into Republican Primary Elections in order to prevent Republican nominees who would not be able to win the general election from making it past the primary,” Vogel says.

“Joni Ernst was really a beta test for them. They saw her as the most viable contender and one who if not completely, philosophically aligned with their brand of small government, free market, libertarian infused conservatism,” Vogel explains. “We found documents that showed that they were involved in a big way early on.”

During this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Vogel about his article, and asks about the possibility of reform when it comes to campaign finance in the United States.

Also included during this hour:

·         Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer talks about the Bakken pipeline public hearing which took place yesterday in Boone

·         Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell gives an update on a heroin crisis summit held Thursday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

·         Mike Hlas, sports columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, talks about this weekend’s “Grapple on the Gridiron” at Kinnick Stadium

·         Rachel Caufield of Drake University and the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement gives a preview of tomorrow’s Democratic debate to be held in Des Moines