Terry Branstad

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Terry Edward Branstad (born November 17, 1946) is the 42nd and current governor of Iowa since January 2011. Branstad has previously served as the 39th governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999. He became President of Des Moines University from 2003 to 2009, and then chose to run for Governor again. He is a member of the Republican Party.[1]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

On its website, ALEC described the meeting that took place in 1973 which led to the founding of the organization:

"More than 30 years ago, a small group of state legislators and conservative policy advocates met in Chicago to implement a vision:
A nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Their vision and initiative resulted in the creation of a voluntary membership association for people who believed that government closest to the people was fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C."

ALEC identified Governor Branstad as one of the politicians who attended that meeting.[2]

Ag-gag Laws

Ag-gag laws are laws intended to prevent whistleblowers from exposing animal cruelty on farms. The term "ag gag" for the laws was coined by Mark Bittman in an April 2011 New York Times column.[3]

In Iowa, Senate File 431 and House File 589 prohibit anyone from producing, possessing, or distributing a record of a “visual or audio experience occurring at [an] animal facility.”[4][5] The House bill, which passed March 17, 2011, was originally introduced by Rep Annette Sweeney.[6][7] Sweeney operates a family cattle operation and she is the former Executive Director of the Iowa Angus Association.[8][9] In the Senate, the bill was initially introduced by Tom Rielly.[10] One of his top campaign contributors in 2008 was the Iowa Farm Bureau.[11]

The bill passed and was signed by Governor Branstad on March 2, 2012.[12] According to the DesMoines Register, "The National Institute on Money in State Politics has found that almost 10 percent of the $8.9 million Gov. Terry Branstad raised in his most recent campaign came from the agriculture industry. And almost $8,000 -- more than one-fourth of all the campaign money raised in 2010 by Sen. Joe Seng of Davenport, a self-proclaimed moderate Democrat who led discussion on the bill -- came from the ag sector, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group."[13]


  1. Office of the Governor of Iowa, "About the Governor", government website, accessed September 19, 2012.
  2. American Legislative Exchange Council, History, organizational site, accessed April 2012
  3. Mark Bittman, Who Protects the Animals?, New York Times, April 26, 2011
  4. Senate File 431, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  5. Will Potter, "Iowa and Florida Ag-Industry Bills Target Animal Cruelty Investigations," Green is the New Red, March 29, 2011, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  6. House File 431, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  7. House File 589, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  8. Annette Sweeney - Biography, Project Vote Smart, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  9. Annette Sweeney, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  10. Senate File 341, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  11. Tom Rielly, Accessed May 5, 2011.
  12. State of Iowa, HF 589 Status, state legislation, accessed April 3, 2012
  13. Jason Clayworth, 'Ag gag' backers were also donors, DesMoines Register, March 19, 2012