It's been the topic of conversation for close to a week now. Who is behind those ads that rip on Governor Chet Culver? It's a group called the Iowa Future Fund.
Reporters quickly started "googling" the group on the Internet. It listed a couple of Democratic attorneys who head the group. Ooh, this sounds juicy. Could it be that Governor Culver has ticked off his fellow Democrats so much they're running attacks against him? Was it the bottle bill idea...keeping some of Iowans' deposits? Was it that combined reporting idea that Tom Vilsack could never get the legislature to pass when he held the office? Nope, not at all. It's no "D" vs. "D" fight, after all.
The Iowa Future Fund is, indeed, a Democratic organization. Or at least, it was. It was the name of Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's political action committee. But the PAC dissolved about two years ago.
It turns out someone else has brought the fund back to life. But who is it? The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board couldn't seem to get us any updated information on the group. Paperwork from the group's advertising contracts with television stations shows the group claims an address on Beaver Avenue in Des Moines. We checked out that address. It's a UPS store. We checked out the phone number. It's the number of a law firm, the Holtzman Vogel law firm...in Virginia. Someone on the phone told me The Iowa Future Fund is a client. That person wouldn't tell me who gives money to this fund or who is involved with it.
But Republican sources in Iowa tell me. It's Nick Ryan, Jim Nussle's former campaign manager when Nussle tried and failed to beat Chet Culver for Governor two years ago. As I write this, Ryan hasn't responded to my phone calls.