What is Iowa LawPAC

Iowa LawPAC

In 1982, the ISBA Board of Governors established a voluntary, nonprofit, unincorporated committee of individual lawyers and others not affiliated with any political party. The committee was named the Iowa Lawyers’ Political Action Committee (Iowa LawPAC).

According to its bylaws, which were most recently amended in 2011, the committee’s purposes in part are to:

  • Promote and strive for the improvement of government by encouraging lawyers and others to take a more active role in governmental affairs;
  • Encourage lawyers and others to understand the nature and actions of their government;
  • Assist lawyers and others in organizing themselves for more effective political action in carrying out their civic responsibilities;
  • Support officially adopted policies of the ISBA;
  • Provide financial support to individual candidates for nomination or election to legislative offices in the state;
  • Restrict all activities to the promotion of the legal profession in Iowa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is on the Iowa LawPAC 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. Members are selected from all areas of the state so that the board can call on each member’s regional knowledge of candidates.

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.

How does Iowa LawPAC select the individuals who receive money?
LawPAC’s first priority is to support lawyer-legislative candidates, especially those who are members of The Iowa State Bar Association and have supported LawPAC prior to running for office. The next priority is to legislative candidates who have been supportive of the bar’s legislative efforts in the past, or have indicated support for these efforts as a first-time candidate. LawPAC especially appreciates recommendations for contributions that come from ISBA members on a candidate’s behalf. If you know of legislators or legislative candidates who deserve our support, please let us know.

How do ISBA legislative policies fit in with the operation of Iowa LawPAC?
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. However, it takes into consideration a candidate’s prior support for the ISBA’s legislative priorities.

What is a typical Iowa LawPAC contribution to a legislator?
Amounts of $1,000 to $2,000 would be a significant contribution to lawyer-legislative candidates. LawPAC would also make significant contributions to the House and Senate leadership of both parties from $500 to $1,000 or $2,000, regardless of political affiliation. 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 he or she is located, what legislative committees the individual is serving on and if a local lawyer has suggested support.

What is the level of LawPAC participation among ISBA members?
The participation rate by ISBA members is approximately 15 percent. PACS are prohibited from accepting corporate contributions, and payments have to be made by individuals.

Please contribute to LawPAC at one of the following levels:

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

Contribute online or download a contribution form. For more information about contributing, please contact Harry Shipley at 515-697-7868 or hshipley@iowabar.org.

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Jim Carney
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(515) 689-3189

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(402) 510-1576

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(515) 282-6803