Former Republican Congressman and ReFormer Caucus member Jim Leach appeared on Sioux City’s NBC’s affiliate KITV last Friday to address how skyrocketing campaign spending has distorted the process in the Iowa caucuses. In addition, he advocated for increased disclosure on political spending in his home state because, “If you were to ask a typical Iowan who pays for these ads, they would say they don’t know. They would know the ads were for or against a candidate but they wouldn’t know who paid for them.” As described in our Blueprints for Democracy report, full disclosure provides voters with critical information about the candidates, and helps detect actual corruption as it happens.
With the costs of campaigns increasing exponentially each cycle, candidates are now more beholden to wealthy donors in order to raise the funds required to run a successful campaign. This fundraising takes precedent over meeting with constituents and working with fellow members on legislation. Leach stated that, “We’ve got to have a system in which the ordinary citizen and the voter counts. [T]hat person is more important to the person seeking election that the person who is donating huge lumps of money into that campaign.”
According to SMG Delta, over $70 million has been spent on advertisements in Iowa this cycle alone.
The ReFormers Caucus is a bipartisan group of more than 116 former members of Congress and governors, organized by Issue One to use their collective voices to advocate for significant money-in-politics reforms at the state and federal level.
Find the full interview here.