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KCCI Admits $1,000,000 Media Buy Influenced Their Candidate Selection


Revelation Made in September 18th Letter

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - September 28, 2014 - Des Moines television station KCCI admitted in a letter dated September 18, 2014, that $1 million in television commercials bought from them by the Bruce Braley ($632,286) and Joni Ernst ($385,790) campaigns were a determining factor in who they invited to their senate debate.

Rick Stewart, the Independent candidate who was not invited to participate in the debate, says candidates who have legally qualified for the ballot should not have to pay to play.

"The FEC requires KCCI to invite candidates based on pre-established objective criteria," says Stewart, "and a million dollars in ad spending is certainly objective. I also find it obscene. If democracy is for sale to the highest bidder, right here in Iowa, the system is clearly broken."

Stewart notes the Des Moines Register may or may not have collaborated with KCCI in excluding low-spending candidates, but says he has no evidence of either. He is requesting the newspaper clear the air by releasing all documents related to their sponsorship of the debate. 

"Transparency counts," he claims. "All Iowa media outlets should be demanding it from both KCCI and the Des Moines Register. Simpson College might also want to let the public know what they knew, and when they knew it."

TV spending by candidates for federal office is publicly available at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website, which is where Stewart claims he found the $632,286 and $385,790 numbers.


Rick Stewart

855 Camburn Ct SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403




The letter from KCCI has at least one "oversight" that might be useful to the Rick Stewart campaign. I notice in the fifth paragraph the writers suggest "two candidates...most viable and newsworthy to include." I can't help but wonder if "newsworthy" really applies in this case. The two candidates who are already getting most of the major media coverage are still making the same claims they were making in July and August. Newsworthy??? I think not. In addition, the last two sentences of that same paragraph (the longest one), are "priceless." They suggest that their corporate judgment is an important part of "public discussion and debate," but by only including two candidates (who are primarily focusing on anti-opponent attack ads--heavily funded by out-of-state monies) they are limiting the public's access to other legitimate, viable candidates. For what it's worth...

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