As an Iowan and a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, I am fed up with the obscene costs of elections and the nauseating levels of political spending.
Nationally, $14 billion was spent on the 2020 elections, with $234 million going toward the Ernst/Greenfield Senate race, the most expensive campaign in Iowa’s history.
It’s no wonder America’s politics have been overwhelmingly dominated by the ultra-wealthy and well-connected. So how can you and I, ordinary people with modest means and good ideas, ever hope to run for office?
Well, finally there is corrective action! H.R. 1, or the “For the People Act,” is a bill introduced in Congress to strengthen voting rights, reform ethics laws and fundamentally transform the way candidates raise money.
H.R. 1 addresses “dark money,” requiring political organizations to disclose big donors. It also establishes a 6x1 matching system for small-dollar donations to presidential & congressional campaigns, with funds coming from a surcharge on settlements involving corporate wrongdoing (think Wells Fargo or Purdue Pharma).
Reforming money in politics amplifies support from regular people so that many more of us can run for office without chasing mega-donors. Iowa’s representatives should vote for H.R. 1.
Susie Petra is an Ames community member.