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Environmental Groups: Joni Ernst Is Beholden To Sarah Palin

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Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst is facing a new round of attack ads, this time from environmental groups tying her to former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The Des Moines Register reports that the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Action Fund will spend close to $1 million distributing a new ad, which shows a clip of Palin endorsing Ernst before the GOP primary in May.

The ad, released Tuesday, also ties Ernst to the Koch brothers, who have helped direct $25,000 to her campaign via their network of political donors. The Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity has also run a series of attack ads against her Democratic opponent in the Senate race, Rep. Bruce Braley.

Ernst currently serves as an Iowa state senator, and the ad emphasizes her opposition to environmental regulations. It shows smoky, smog-filled air and includes a clip from a debate in which Ernst advocated shutting down the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “When we talk about the rules and regulations that are burdening business owners, whether it is in agriculture, whether it is in industry here in the state of Iowa -- let’s shut down the federal EPA, and focus on those issues here in the state where the state knows best how to protect resources," she said in the clip.

The Ernst campaign pushed back on the attacks on Tuesday.

"The people behind this ad are the same Washington liberal extremists trying to force Iowans to submit to a cap and trade energy tax," a campaign spokeswoman told The Des Moines Register. "As someone who grew up working the land, Joni knows a whole lot more about the importance of protecting the environment than a bunch of liberal activists in Washington. That's why she supports strong state-based environmental protections to protect our land, water and all of Iowa's natural resources."

Ernst has continually stressed her farming background, famously releasing a primary ad in which she discussed "castrating hogs" and promising to make Washington "squeal" if elected.

Watch the attack ad above.

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