Political issue ads start early, but issues aren't on ballots - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Political issue ads start early, but issues aren't on ballots

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - You've probably seen a few issue-oriented political ads on TV over the last week.

Some groups have started the year trying to get you to take action.

These ads mostly have nothing to do with anything on the ballot.

The groups are hoping their ads help gather grassroots support for their causes.

VoteVets paid more than $100,000 to air an ad over the last week in Iowa and Washington, D.C.

It asks people to tell the Environmental Protection Agency to keep the renewable fuel standards, including ethanol in gas.

The agency is currently considering relaxing the amount required by law.

It's not much of a controversy in Iowa because almost all Iowa politicians support the keeping the standards as they are.

"They're trying to get as many votes as they can," said KWWL political analyst Chris Larimer. "It's an important enough issue that the members of Congress from a state that would support it are going to act on it."

Another ad is from Citizens for a Healthy Iowa. That group is pushing for cleaner drinking water and fewer nitrates in Iowa's ground water.

That's something voters won't decide.

Larimer says these issue-oriented ads are showing up now because it's an election year.

"If you get a competitive presidential or gubernatorial election, some of these ads can get drowned out by some of these other campaign ads, so I think it's a way to ... capture people's attentions right now," said Larimer.

A spokesman for VoteVets told KWWL it's running its ads now because the public comment period on the renewable fuels standard ends Jan. 28.

A spokeswoman for Citizens for a Healthy Iowa says her group is running ads now as a message in an election year to politicians in both parties.

Both groups are 501(c)4 organizations, which means they are not required to disclose their donors.

Citizens for a Healthy Iowa told us the ads were paid by donations from Iowans.

VoteVets is based in Portland, Ore. A spokesman says it has nearly 10,000 supporters in Iowa.

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