When I threw my hat into the race for Iowa House, I promised not to take a “politics as usual” approach. My positions and platform span both sides of the aisle while focusing on common sense solutions to our greatest challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, winning elections takes a lot of money, but I set out to challenge that notion from the beginning. I have not asked for a single dime, not one. I have even turned down large money offers. This election is about connecting with people, not dollars. If I win, I owe my gratitude and service to voters, not a party, PAC, or donor.
In politics, influence is bought, not earned. I am working to earn the privilege of representing the people of District 59. I refuse money because money corrupts independence and objectivity in decision making.
We cannot deny the adverse influences of money in politics. What started as a curiosity, turned into a full research project. We analyzed the historical giving patterns for the incumbent candidate based on Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure reports. The analysis was shocking and saddening.
We aggregated data from 2005 to present on all contributions given to the incumbent. The data was sorted between three types of financial contributions: (1) Individual; (2) PAC and/or Special Interest; and (3) the Iowa Democratic Party. A final evaluation point compared contributions from Cedar Falls and beyond.
Never did I imagine such disparity between Cedar Falls givers and special interests and parties or the fact that $677,530 would have been invested in one person alone.
So I ask, how can a representative ever vote against these interests? When nearly 50% of your campaign dollars comes from your own party, would you ever stray from its voting orders? When 60% of your constituents are non-Democrat, how do you represent them if you are sworn by proxy to represent your party first?
When I make any decision, whether it be a city council vote or business acquisition, I study the facts and ask questions to fill in understanding gaps. If there is even a slight question of conflict, I recuse myself. In my work, an unbreakable code of ethics which prohibits gifts, favors or personal conflicts, forms the foundation of the business decision making process. Sadly, the same can’t be said about politics. Even on city council, members sign a conflicts disclosure, which applies to financial gain, but it says nothing about the money you receive for your campaign. This conflict is exacerbated the higher in politics you go, money is influence, power, and favors.
How can we remove the influence of money in politics? Vote for a candidate that doesn't need to beg for money. Vote for a candidate that has pledged independence, transparency, and commitment to facts, reason, and principle.
* Contact me if you'd like the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board data aggregation and analysis