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Iowa Ethics Board Says Candidates Can't Use Campaign Funds For Child Care

Marcus Kwan/Flickr
The Iowa ethics board members say they don’t believe Iowa law clearly allows the use of campaign funds for child care.";

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issued an opinion Friday saying candidates for public office cannot use campaign funds for child care.

“I think that it’s disappointing,” said Reyma McCoy McDeid, a candidate in this year’s Democratic primary for Iowa House District 38. “I really hoped to remove this small but significant barrier to parents running for office.”

After the Federal Election Commission decided in May that federal candidates can use contributions to pay for campaign-related child care, McDeid asked if that would be allowed in Iowa.

The Iowa ethics board members issued a 5-1 opinion Friday saying they don’t believe Iowa law clearly allows the use of campaign funds for child care.

“One could argue that child care expenses incurred by a candidate in order for the candidate to participate in campaign activities is ‘for campaign purposes’ just as easily as one could argue the expense is ‘personal’ in nature,” the opinion reads.

The board said it’s a decision best left to the Iowa Legislature.

McDeid said she plans to advocate for the change next year.

“Unfortunately it’s not going to happen in 2018, but I hope that it happens in 2019 so that moving forward, all people who are wanting to run for office who have children have one less barrier to making that happen.”

McDeid said she spent about $1,200 on campaign-related child care for her daughter during her six-month campaign.