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What is Iowa LawPAC
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LawPAC is the political action committee (PAC) of the Iowa State Bar Association. Its Board of Directors is composed equally of Republican and Democrat ISBA members appointed by the President of the ISBA.

LawPAC does not pay salaries to any person and makes political contributions to legislative candidates only. It does not give contributions to statewide races or federal races. LawPAC’s top priority is to assist lawyer candidates who are willing to pursue public service by running for the state legislature. LawPAC also supports candidates who are supportive of the ISBA legislative priorities.

LawPAC approaches contributions in a non-partisan manner and there is an attempt to evenly distribute contributions between both political parties.

 

Why Join LawPAC?

The ISBA legislative program encompasses all aspects of the practice of the law. The sections of the ISBA regularly submit legislative proposals in the areas of Administrative, Business, Corporations, Criminal, Family, Real Estate, Tax, Probate, Trust, Estate, and Work Comp. Each year the ISBA Affirmative Legislative Program has 15 to 20 proposals prepared by the various sections and approved by the Board of Governors.

Best estimates are that the ISBA through its affirmative legislative program has passed over 500 bills in the past 35 years. This would include minor modifications to existing law or the complete re-writing of many chapters of the Iowa Code. These proposals span the entire spectrum of the practice of law and approximately half of the Iowa Code.

  • The ISBA supports full funding for the Judicial Branch.
  • Increased funding for indigent defense.
  • During any legislative session there are two or three bills that could radically change the practice of law and negatively affect the rights of citizens. The ISBA opposes legislation that would negatively impact the rights of citizens and the practice of law.
  • Successful opposition to the legalization of title insurance, caps on recoveries, limitation on attorney fees and attacks on the practice of law by other interest groups.
Support of lawyers, regardless of party affiliation, who desire to engage in public service and to run for public office.

Iowa LawPAC FAQ

1.  Who is on the IowaLawPAC Board and how is the board appointed?

The board consists of 10 members appointed by the ISBA President. It is independent from The Iowa State Bar Association Board of Governors. There are an equal number of Republican and Democrat board members. 

2.  To whom does Iowa LawPAC give money?

Iowa LawPAC contributes only to state legislative races – Iowa House and Senate candidates.  It does not give to Congressional races.  And, it does not give to state-wide races such as those involving the governor or attorney general.

3.  How does IowaLawPAC select the individuals who receive money?

Contributions are given to individuals who are supportive of ISBA’s affirmative legislative efforts and concepts supported by the ISBA.  A top priority of Iowa LawPAC is to support lawyer candidates and candidates who will listen to the ISBA’s position on issues.

4. How do contributions compare in the amounts given to candidates of each political party?

The contributions are very evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.  The amount of money given to one party or another is determined largely by the number of lawyer candidates that a party may have.  Iowa LawPAC tends to make larger contributions to lawyer candidates, so if more lawyers are running in one party or the other, there may be an imbalance in favor of that party.  Beyond that, contributions are very equally divided between the political parties.

5. How do ISBA legislative policies fit in with the operation of IowaLawPAC?

The Iowa State Bar Association Board of Governors determines the legislative policies of the Iowa Bar.  Iowa LawPAC deals only with contributions to political candidates and does not make legislative policy.

6. What is the current Iowa LawPAC budget?

Depending upon the time of year and how many members have sent in their dues payments, the LawPAC account is approximately $30,000 to $40,000. 

7. What percent of the budget is spent on political contributions?

One hundred percent of all contributions to LawPAC are spent on political contributions to state legislative races.  No money is spent on any other programs or for other purposes, other than incidental expenditures that are directly related to the making of the political contributions.  LawPAC does not pay any salaries or staff. 

8. With current funding, what is a typical Iowa LawPAC contribution to a legislator?

LawPAC tries to provide significant support to lawyer-legislative candidates.  $1,000 to $2,000 would be a significant contribution to lawyer- legislative candidates.  LawPAC would also make significant contributions to House and Senate leadership of both parties from $500 to $1,000 or $2,000.  Many contributions are made to candidates in the amount of $100 to $200.  It is dependent upon whether the candidate has a significant race, where they are located and what legislative committees they may be serving on.

9. How does IowaLawPAC compare with other special interest groups and their PACS?

At one time Iowa LawPAC was in the top 10 of PACS in the state.  It is now barely in the top 30, and is one of the smallest professional PACS.  Iowa LawPAC does not compare favorably with other major associations that have active legislative programs.

10.  What is the level of LawPAC participation among ISBA members?

The participation rate by ISBA members is approximately 15 percent.  We have determined that larger firms that are corporate entities in particular have a lower participation rate because of the prohibition against corporate contributions.  PACS are prohibited from accepting corporate contributions, and payments have to be made by individuals.

11.  How can a member make a contribution to IowaLawPAC?

Each year on the dues statement, there is an opportunity to give to Iowa LawPAC.  LawPAC cannot accept corporate checks and must receive individual checks.  The board is investigating how members can make payments via credit card or online, with the goal of making contributions to Iowa LawPAC much simpler for members.

 Join LawPAC today!

This year's goal is to raise $70,000 - and we need your membership today to reach that goal.
Become a LawPAC member today!

Please contribute to LawPAC at one of the following levels:

  • $75 for Contributor status
  • $100 for Sustaining Contributor status

Contribute online now or download a contribution form!

For more information about contributing, please contact Harry Shipley at 515-697-7868. 



The Iowa State Bar Association • 625 East Court Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph. (515) 243-3179 • Fax (515) 243-2511
Email: isba@iowabar.org