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Iowa

Anti-gay activists spent $833K in failed effort to oust pro-gay marriage judge

Friday, October 25, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa — Activist organizations spent $833,000 in Iowa last year trying to influence voters to decide whether to keep an Iowa Supreme Court judge who supported same-sex marriage, according to a new report that analyzed spending by special-interest groups and political parties.

The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, the National Institute on Money in State Politics and Justice at Stake released the report Thursday.

David Wiggins

David Wiggins

In it, they concluded outside influence has turned judicial elections into a special-interest battleground and contributes to the perception that justice is for sale, The Des Moines Register reported.

The researchers tracked spending on advertisements targeted at judicial votes in Iowa and elsewhere.

For example, one TV ad said Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins had imposed gay marriage on Iowa residents and legislated from the bench. That “vote no” spot aired 145 times last year for a cost of $86,000, according to the report, called “The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12: How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts.”

Voters opted to keep Wiggins, among the Iowa Supreme Court justices who unanimously ruled in 2009 that the Iowa Constitution makes it unlawful to block same-sex couples from marrying.

Three other justices were up for retention votes in 2010, and all three were ousted. About $1.4 million was spent on influencing voters that year, the report says.

Wiggins, like the three Iowa justices ousted in 2010, refused to raise campaign funds.

The $866,000 figure is one example of how special interest spending in judicial elections “has turned into an arms race,” said Alicia Bannon, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and lead author of the report. “The American people need to know that judges are deciding cases based on the law, not on who spent the most money to support their campaign.”

Anti-retention groups spent $466,000 on the 2012 election, including $318,000 by Iowans For Freedom and $148,000 by the National Organization for Marriage. Both groups ran television ads, the report said.

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Pro-retention groups spent $367,000, including $320,000 by Justice Not Politics, $37,000 by the Iowa State Bar and roughly $5,000 each by Progress Iowa and the Human Rights Campaign.

Nationally, special interest groups and political parties spent an unprecedented $24.1 million on television ads and other election materials in state court races in 2011-12, making it the costliest election cycle for TV spending in judicial election history, the report’s authors said.

Many of the races “seemed alarmingly indistinguishable from ordinary political campaigns,” featuring pitches from super PACs and mudslinging attack ads, the report said.

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98 more reader comments:

  1. So glad it was a failure! What a moron!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:38pm
  2. I’m glad they wasted their money, the hateful bigots!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:39pm
  3. What a dumb cause to raise money for. Gay marriage is not going to ruin the country

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:39pm
  4. You could have used that money for REAL problems, like starving children in orphanages! Or starving children in general!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:40pm
  5. think of how much good you could have done with that money

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:40pm
  6. Let em’ waste their money!!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:40pm
  7. Smell ya later bigots.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:40pm
  8. Dumb asses

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:41pm
  9. Sometimes you simply have to salute a well-placed failure!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:41pm
  10. Shame!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:41pm
  11. SHADE!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:42pm
  12. And yet they complain about the budget

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:44pm
  13. What happened to helping the poor and hungry?

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:44pm
  14. Keep throwing your money away, bigots. We’ll keep moving forward while you go broke trying to hold on to the past.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:44pm
  15. Douche Nozzle! :D

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:45pm
  16. Bigot Ass….

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:45pm
  17. Ha ha a holes

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:46pm
  18. I’m glad my state has enough good sense to see through these obvious ploys by hatemongers. Go Iowa voters!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:46pm
  19. For once the money worked in OUR favor.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:48pm
  20. He could have fed families, gave to cure something, or even towards children’s education but no you decided to spend it on hate…Bravo sir you have accomplished nothing!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:53pm
  21. Oh, I differ. They did accomplish something; not what they set out to do, but something that has served the greater good. From here on, their hateful ideology has been exposed and every election ad will be scrutinized. And when the name of their group comes up, in it, it will be a black mark against the candidate who has allowed them to finance his/her campaign. What better way to know which politician has sold out his/her ethics for those thirty pieces of silver than that?

    Replied on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:07pm
  22. Money that could’ve been used to help different outreach projects.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:53pm
  23. Omg how rich is that man to spend his money for inhumanity couse!?

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:55pm
  24. What a waste of taxpayers money.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:55pm
  25. Ha! Ha!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:00pm
  26. I just love it when these idiots waste money.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:05pm
  27. Idiot

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:06pm
  28. Waste of money. Do something better with the money. Like oh idk feed the homeless or donate to schools. These people are backwards in their doings. So dumb and a waste

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:06pm
  29. a fool and his money is soon parted

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:08pm
  30. It’s not like there are starving kids or anyone that could really have used some money.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:17pm
  31. So another words he’s F***** in the head

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:21pm
  32. To think that they could use that money out of love to help take care of the needy in their communites instead of banning love….

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:23pm
  33. It’s depressing to think of how many college tuition that could have payed for.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:25pm
  34. GD Iowans. Keep spending that cash we working pops and disabled need it every penny.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:33pm
  35. good

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:34pm
  36. I’m laughing.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:36pm
  37. What a waste of money!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:38pm
  38. Think what that would buy for a food bank.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:41pm
  39. Maybe the’ll all go broke!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:59pm
  40. hate is so ugly….don’t these people have mirrors???

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:05pm
  41. In my country, I think this’d be considered harassment…

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:10pm
  42. A spectacular (and expensive!) FAIL by the stupid homophobes! HA! HA! long live Justice Higgins!!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:10pm
  43. That state had $833k to waste???? Stupid bigots.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:11pm
  44. He’s just bitter because he’s gay and no one wants him because he’s an ugly creep.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:22pm
  45. That’s nothing, look at what the GOP put up front for fighting DOMA. The original figure given was $500,000, but it quickly swelled to 6 times that, or 3 million dollars in taxpayer money. And if you don’t think its more than that in “charitable donations to the fight”, then you need to Google and read up. Get rid of the House GOP, oet the f*** along, and get some work done.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:24pm
  46. Wonder what this brainiac did next . . . ran home & beat his wife (or boyfriend)

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:25pm
  47. Sad that the money was spent on hatred and bigotry when it could have gone to helping the sick, poor, and hungry.. How very Christian of them.. Not… Epic Fail..

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:28pm
  48. how many homeless folks could have benefited from $833K?

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:45pm
  49. All that money wasted that they could have spent on helping the poor. :o[

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:51pm
  50. Sucks to be him

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 8:03pm
  51. GOP funding…betcha….believe the gopers have sex between the sheets w a hole in it…Stepford women …and men

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 8:10pm
  52. what a waste of time,money and energy that could have been put to feeding the hungry

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 9:02pm
  53. Should have used it for therapy for reaction formation.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 9:10pm
  54. Good. Let him waste all his money. Jerk.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 9:27pm
  55. The homeless would surely have put that money to good use!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 9:35pm
  56. that amount of money could have gone toward feeding the homeless or providing shelters for cities who’ve been impacted by budget cuts. these rich snobs annoy the hell out of me.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:10pm
  57. another horrendous waste of money by conservatives…

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:43pm
  58. He deserved to lose his money.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:44pm
  59. He looks like someone who should be a despot in an Eastern European country.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:46pm
  60. sick homophobes need to go away

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:55pm
  61. Asshole! That money could have went to children in need, housing for poor people, shelter for animals, care in the community, cancer research and a million other things instead of tryin to stop people being in love! He must have been beaten as a child if these r his views! Prick!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:59pm
  62. And they lost their money?

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 11:05pm
  63. That’s what the GOP is noted for….pissing away perfectly good Money! Ask Ted Cruz….he’s an expert at it….

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 11:39pm
  64. just think he could have donated that money to fight breast cancer or HIV.

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 11:42pm
  65. You fucking pig!

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 11:45pm
  66. My homestate – and prolly not Iowa’s money either – out of state peeps

    Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 11:47pm
  67. LOL

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:15am
  68. Wow. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent on issues that matter?

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:25am
  69. Poetic Justice! :)

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:32am
  70. Oh, and let’s see if the suppliers of this $833K are willing to cough it up again for another attempt.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:33am
  71. I can’t help but think of all the good they could’ve done with that money.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:52am
  72. Oh well. Serves him right for trying to dick over gay people.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 1:51am
  73. she needs jenny craig

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 3:16am
  74. I’ve noticed since I moved here a little over 2 years ago, that the republicans really lay it on thick here. Glad to see that there are plenty of smart and logical people that show them that we can’t be bought, and will vote to prove it.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 3:52am
  75. What a waste.. of the money also.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 5:11am
  76. You made your bed……..

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 5:13am
  77. almost a million dollars? wouldn’t that money be better spent in health care coverage for indigent people? or maybe to provide some type of assistance to people with needs? or maybe in educational benefits for underprivileged students who are high academic achievers? I don’t know, but i think that money could be used in a much more efficient way.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 5:24am
  78. I’m tired of old fat guys in politics trying to stop pro gay activities and laws like it’s going to stop us from being ourselves…we are going to be gay no matter what

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 6:00am
  79. HA HA!

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 6:06am
  80. hooray less money for the saps

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 6:37am
  81. youll all want 1 under islamm………….

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 10:41am
  82. SUCH a waste of money. How many families could that kind of money help?

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 11:22am
  83. Precisely. The decision to use that kind of money in this way utterly undermines the purpose of any religion supporting it. Think of what could have been done with just the 8 million used by the mormon church to enact prop 8. In the end, it was 8 million flushed down the toilet. How many lives could have improved with that? How many situations of suffering alleviated? When a choice to use money in this way is made it insults humanity and the very essence of that which any theism is supposed to be about.

    Replied on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:05pm
  84. Far too many "Christians" seem to have forgotten what Jesus was talking about when he said "whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me". Jesus (if he existed) was so NOT a republican.

    Replied on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 1:00pm
  85. HAHA!

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:05pm
  86. I’m from Iowa and it’s so sad to see so many fellow Iowans being such bigots and hateful people.. too bad they don’t realize how stupid this makes them look

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:16pm
  87. ☺️karma apparently wanted her $833k back lol

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2:06pm
  88. He needs to be sent to jail for wasting tax payers money

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2:31pm
  89. What good could have been done with that money. Truly pathetic.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2:45pm
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    For inquiries and details on how you can make a change, email us at qcpridecouncil@gmail.com or send us a message!

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    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 3:08pm
  91. $ was spent on something non-productive? wow shocker lol

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 3:52pm
  92. So happy they failed. that’s what happens with hate.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 4:53pm
  93. Those activists are a bunch of idiots.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 8:32pm
  94. See truth can NOT be bought. Thank you GOD.

    Posted on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 11:32pm
  95. Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:16am
  96. Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:16am
  97. Ugly

    Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:17am
  98. That money could have been better spent!! But, glad it went down the tubes :)

    Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 5:11pm