Former Iowa Congressman Berkley Bedell is speaking out in favor of taxpayer-financed campaigns. Bedell represented Iowa in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1987. Bedell says during that time he saw how "special interest money" swayed politicians. Bedell says "the common people" are shortchanged when monied interests control politicians.
"If you’re serving in a legislative body and you know you have to have the money for your next campaign that has been given to you by special interests, there’s tremendous pressure to vote for whatever those special interests want in order that you can get the money…so you can continue to be elected," Bedell says. Bedell wants Iowa to follow Maine and Arizona — states which have a so-called "Clean Elections" law that lets candidates take public financing for their campaigns if they refuse to accept private contributions.
A bill introduced in the Iowa House proposes an income tax check-off and a sales tax on advertising to finance statewide and legislative campaigns. Bedell appeared at the statehouse Monday, headlining a "Clean Elections" rally. Bedell also was the keynote speaker at a weekend event in Des Moines focused on peace issues. The 85-year-old Bedell, who represented northwest Iowa in congress for six terms, started a fishing tackle business in Spirit Lake that is now run by his son.