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Iowa AG slams report on campaign contributions

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Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller dismissed a recent report on his 2010 campaign contributions from those involved in the banking industry, calling it "false and misleading at its core." The National Institute on Money in State Politics released a report this week, detailing which banking attorneys contributed to Miller's campaign. But in an interview with HousingWire Friday, Miller said all but one of the attorneys listed as campaign contributors in the report are not involved in the case. Only Meyer Koplow, a partner at the New York firm Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz, who gave Miller $5,000 in 2010 is involved. He represents Bank of America (BAC). However, at the time of the contribution and at the time of the election, Koplow was not involved in the case. The rest of the attorneys, Miler said, "were not involved in the case, not involved in the negotiations." Only one other person mentioned in the report, Elizabeth McCaul, who gave Miller $10,000 could possibly be linked to the foreclosure investigation. She works as a partner at the New York-based consulting firm Promontory Financial, and does some work for BofA. But, like Koplow, at the time of the contribution, was not involved in the case. "They (Koplow and McCaul) contributed as friends and because they believed in me," Miller said. "Nobody with a vested interest jumped in. These two people got involved late in the election." Miller said $1.6 million was spent against him in the 2010 campaign, seven times the amount spent against him before. The report points out the disparity between the 2010 contributions and previous ones, including 2006, when Miller reportedly received $3,500 from donors in the finance, insurance and real estate sector. "Amazingly, he compares what I spent in this campaign to what I spent in 2006, when I was unopposed," Miller said. The report also points out the amount of money paid to Miller through the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Miller received $50,000 from DAGA, which includes payments from BofA and JPMorgan Chase (JPM). However, Miller said BofA contributed far more to the Republican Attorneys General Association than they did to DAGA. And as a result, RAGA contributed $850,000 to Miller's opponent in 2010, as opposed to the $50,000, he received from DAGA. While Miller could not go into the specifics of the proposal, he maintained that the negotiations from his investigation into the servicer foreclosure processes remains months away. His office has had two successful meetings with the banks. Other AGs came out against Miller, claiming the initial proposal he submitted would only entice more borrowers into a strategic default in order to take advantage of the terms. Miller said he is wary of the threat of strategic default, and that any settlement would have language built into it to prevent the practice. "We're concerned about strategic default and that's something we want to guard against," Miller said. "I think the fundamentals of the states working together, of us working with the feds, and the investigation that was done and with the banks being willing to negotiate in good faith in the two sessions. Those are all really good fundamentals that can lead to a good settlement." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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