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Will return illegal gift, Iowa candidate says

by The Associated Press | April 25, 2018 at 3:46 a.m.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Democratic candidate for Iowa Secretary of State said Tuesday that she would refund a major contribution from a national political group after learning it was mistakenly given and accepted in violation of Iowa law.

Deidre DeJear’s campaign said it would send back the $5,000 contribution to Emily’s List “as soon as possible” after learning of the violation from The Associated Press hours earlier.

The gift broke an Iowa law that bars political action committees from donating to candidates for state office during the legislative session, and prohibits candidates from accepting them during that period.

DeJear, a small business owner and former organizer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, is running against Jim Mowrer in the June 5 primary. The winner will challenge incumbent Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, in the November election.

Emily’s List, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, made the donation to DeJear from its political action committee on March 8, days before it publicly endorsed her campaign. The group disclosed the contribution to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Disclosure Board as required on March 14. Lawmakers have been in session all year, and expect to adjourn in coming weeks.

A spokesman for Emily’s List said the group learned of its mistake from the AP on Tuesday and immediately took steps to fix it, including by asking the DeJear campaign for a refund.

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