The Quad-City Times has reported upon an order from a federal judge, the Federal Election Commission is to investigate a complaint involving Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and her campaign’s involvement with a “dark money” group.

The Times‘ Gary Krambeck reported,

“Joni Ernst & Rand Paul” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

“A U.S. District Court judge has entered a default judgment against the Federal Election Commission, ordering it to take action on a complaint involving a so-called dark-money group tied to Sen. Joni Ernst’s campaign.

The action Wednesday was brought by the left-leaning Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, which told the court the FEC had failed to take action on its complaint that Ernst’s campaign had illegally coordinated with the dark-money group, Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing Ernst.”

“Joni Ernst” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The report continued:

“According to a July 2019 email obtained by The Associated Press, an Ernst campaign consultant asked a donor to make a $50,000 contribution to Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing the incumbent Republican, after Ernst introduced the two.”

“Joni Ernst” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Campaign donors face rigorous legal limits, and it is illegal for campaigns to work directly without outside political nonprofits since those organizations can spend as much as they want.

The FEC, however, is not currently enforcing these rules due to a situation which has left them with the lack of a quorum to even meet and conduct regular business.

“Joni Ernst” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Ernst denies any improper involvement but this added to her already fierce competition for reelection against Democratic opponent businesswoman Theresa Greenfield.

Ernst won the election, which further escalates the need for a speedy investigation.