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Welcome Back to Iowa, Rand!

Last week, Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s spokesperson admitted that in a “perfect world,” Ernst would “support doing away with the” renewable fuel standard (RFS), a critical component of Iowa’s economy that supports thousands of jobs. Well, Joni must just be thrilled that Rand Paul is starting a three day swing through Iowa today, because Rand is already living in her “perfect world” – at a 2012 event in Des Moines, Paul expressed his opposition to the RFS.

Who else opposes the RFS? Why none other than the Koch brothers, of course. Koch Industries lobbied for the “Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act,” and the Kochs’ main political entity Americans for Prosperity wants to “permanently eliminate” the RFS. Conveniently enough, AFP has already spent $2 MILLION on ads attacking Ernst’s opponent this year to prop up her Tea Party candidacy, while members of the Koch family and Koch Industries have directly contributed $15,000 to Ernst’s campaign.

One thing is clear: Joni Ernst, Rand Paul, and the Kochs are all too extreme for Iowa.

Background

Rand Paul & Joni Ernst

Paul Met Ernst Before His Speech At The Iowa Republican State Convention. According to Politico, “Before his speech [at the Iowa Republican state convention], Paul met with Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. He opened his speech with jokes about the campaign commercial in which she talked about castrating hogs as a kid on the farm.” [Politico, 6/14/14]

Paul Endorsed Ernst For Senate. According to Iowa Republican, “Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, whose speech immediately followed Ernst’s, began his dialogue by talking about the woman he hopes to soon refer to as a colleague. ‘I can tell you everybody in Washington has seen Joni Ernst’s ad. And I can tell you that the purveyors of pork are shaking in their boots and worried that Joni Ernst will go up there,’ Paul said, eliciting big applause. ‘I can also tell you that we’re going to do most everything to make sure she does get up there.’” [Iowa Republican, 6/16/14]

Paul Called Joni Ernst’s Primary Win “Extraordinary.” According to the Washington Post, “He also called the win by state Sen. Joni Ernst in a five-way Iowa GOP Senate primary ‘extraordinary.’” [Washington Post, 6/5/14]

Renewable Fuel Standard

Ernst Spokesman Said “In A Perfect World, In A Free Market, She Would Support Doing Away With [The RFS].” According to Sioux City Journal, “That’s no surprise to Sarah Benzing, campaign manager for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Iowa 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley, because ‘Ernst said she’s ‘philosophically opposed’ to the RFS.’ She is, Ernst says, but until all federal mandates and subsidies are eliminated is ‘philosophically opposed,’ the state senator from Red Oak will continue to support the Renewable Fuel Standard – the RFS. It requires fuel refiners to replace some of their traditional fuels with liquids like corn-based ethanol. ‘I understand that we are an ag economy here in Iowa and until we eliminate those subsidies across the board — every sector and at the same time — I’m going to continue to support the RFS,’ Ernst says. It’s the difference between a perfect world and the real world, according to campaign spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel. ‘In a perfect world, in a free market, she would support doing away with (the RFS), but that’s not the case,’ Hamel explained.” [Sioux City Journal,7/29/14]

Paul Opposed Renewable Fuel Standard, Which Gave Consumers Access To Ethanol. According to Des Moines Register, “The ethanol industry in Iowa continues to support the renewable fuel standard, which requires petroleum retailers to sell ethanol blends. Without the standard, industry officials say, consumers would not have access to ethanol at local gas stations. Paul says he prefers to let the market decide which forms of energy to support. ‘Nobody should be voting on which industry should win over another,’ he said.” [Des Moines Register, 5/11/12]

Subsides

Asked About Ethanol, Paul Said, “I Think That No Business Should Be Subsidized.” According to the Deseret News, Paul was asked, “What would you tell Iowans about ethanol?” He responded, “I think that no business should be subsidized. The reason we have efficiency and the reason you can go to Target and get a shirt like this for $7.99, which is probably what I paid for this shirt — you won’t tell anyone, right? — the reason is that capitalism works to create goods because you let people sell what people want, and you let them purchase it as a competitive price.” [Deseret News, 3/18/14]

Paul Wanted To Grow The Oil And Gas Industry, Without Government Subsidies. According to Des Moines Register, “Paul said he wants to see the oil and gas industries grow in the United States, but not through government subsidies. ‘What I would do would make the tax rates so low that you wouldn’t have to worry about specifically targeting industries,’ he said.” [Des Moines Register, 5/11/12]

2011: Paul Voted For Repealing The 45-Cent Ethanol Tax Credit And The 54-Cent Tariff On Ethanol Imports. In June 2011, Paul voted for an amendment that, according to the Washington Post, “would abruptly eliminate the tax credits, which cost the federal government about $6 billion a year, on July 1. In addition to ending a 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy, the amendment would eliminate the 54-cent-a-gallon protective tariff that discourages imports.” The Senate agreed to the amendment by a vote of 73 to 27. Cloture on the underlying bill was not invoked, and no further action was taken. [Senate Vote 90, 6/16/11; Washington Post, 6/16/11]

Rand Paul Was Featured Speaker at Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit In New Hampshire, Event was Marked as  2016 “Cattle Call,” By AFP. According to The Washington Post:  But for the audience and the organizers, Cruz and Paul are the people who defined the event and make it the 2016 “cattle call” Americans for Prosperity has marked it as.  [Washington Post, 4/12/14]

Koch Brothers & AFP

Americans for Prosperity Wanted to “Permanently Eliminate” Renewable Fuel Standard, Attacked “Ethanol Lobby”

AFP: Americans For Prosperity Testimony: “AFP Strongly Supports Efforts To Permanently Eliminate The RFS.” In December 2013, during a public hearing for the 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuels Standard Program, Americans for Prosperity’s Christine Harbon Hanson gave testimony on the proposed 2014 RFS standards, saying: “Created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the RFS requires that specific amounts of fuel, such as ethanol and biodiesel is blended into gasoline.” Hanson concluded, “Although reducing the mandate is a step in the right direction and an admission that the cost of the mandate is too high on American families and businesses, it doesn’t go far enough. Given its numerous downsides, AFP strongly supports efforts to permanently eliminate the RFS. Thank you for considering my comments today.” [Public Hearing for 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, 12/5/13]

Americans for Prosperity  Iowa Chapter Opposed Renewable Fuel Standards, Criticized “Ethanol Lobby”

AFP-Iowa Director Attacked The “Ethanol Lobby” And Criticized Renewable Fuel Standards As “Bad For All Other Businesses And American Consumers.” According to an Op-ed from the Director Americans for Prosperity – Iowa, “The ethanol lobby has been raising a ruckus lately, blaming ‘Big Oil’ for supposedly launching a smear campaign against the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that brings them so much business. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that Americans are starting to wake up to the high costs that the RFS imposes on businesses and consumers alike, harming the American economy at the worst possible time. The RFS is a federal program that mandates energy producers to blend renewable fuels such as ethanol into every gallon of gasoline. The current standard calls for fuel makers to blend 10 percent ethanol into every gallon of fuel produced. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now increasing the mandate, encouraging producers to increase its blending of ethanol to 15 percent per gallon through its E15 program. While this federal encouragement may boost the ethanol lobby’s profits, it’s bad for all other businesses and American consumers.” [Americans For Prosperity – Iowa Press Release, 7/8/13]

Americans for Prosperity Opposed Allowing Ethanol Produced from Natural Gas to Qualify for Renewable Fuel standards

Americans For Prosperity Opposed Allowing Ethanol Produced From Natural Gas To Qualify As A Renewable Fuel In The Renewable Fuel Program. According to a letter to Representative Olsen, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Christine Harbin Hanson said, “I am writing in strong opposition to your Domestic Alternative Fuels Act (H.R. 1959). Your legislation would allow domestic alternative fuel—ethanol produced from natural gas—to qualify as renewable fuel in the Renewable Fuel Program in the Clean Air Act. Although the ostensible goal of this legislation is to weaken and undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires that refiners blend a certain amount of ethanol in gasoline, it will have an opposite effect. Including more allowable fuels will have the unintended consequence of expanding it. Now is the time to repeal this economically-damaging mandate, not expand it.” [Americans for Prosperity, 7/15/13]

Koch Industries Lobbied for “Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act”

Koch Companies Public Sector Lobbied On S.1195, “Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act,”  [Senate Lobbying Database, Accessed 8/1/14]

AFP Has Spent Almost $2 Million Ads Attacking Ernst’s Pro-RFS Opponent 

January, 2014: Koch-Backed AFP Released $500,000 Ad Buy Attacking Braley.  [Washington Post, 2/4/14]

April, 2014: Koch-Backed Freedom Partners Released Ad Buy Attacking Braley Worth At Least $270,000.  [Quad-City Times, 4/8/14]

June, 2014: Koch-Backed AFP Released $290,000 Ad Buy Attacking Braley.  [Des Moines Register, 6/12/14]

July, 2014: Koch-Backed AFP Released $800,000 Ad Buy Attacking Braley.  [Quad-City Times, 7/10/14]

Ernst Thanked Koch-Backed Americans For Prosperity for Anti-Braley Ads

Ernst Thanked Americans For Prosperity For Running Anti-Braley Ads. According to a Facebook post by state Sen. Joni Ernst, Ernst said, “Thankful AFP – Iowa is highlighting Bruce #BraleysObamacare with a new television ad! Time for Braley to own up to the broken promises he made to Iowans. #IASEN” [Joni Ernst – Facebook, 1/15/14]

Ernst Received Over $15,000 From Members Of The Koch Family And Koch Industries In 2014

2014: Ernst Received $15,400 From The Koch Brothers And Their Associates. According to reports from the Federal Election Committee, in 2014, state Sen. Joni Ernst received $15,400 from the Koch Brothers and their associates, including $2,600 from Charles Koch and $5,000 from Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee, or KochPAC. Below is a detailed table of the contributions:

Name Date Amount
Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee (KochPAC) 6/30/14 $5,000
Charles Koch 6/27/14 $2,600
Anna Koch 6/27/14 $2,600
Elizabeth Koch 6/27/14 $2,600
Chase Koch 6/30/14 $2,600
Total $15,400

[Federal Elections Committee, 7/17/14]