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Common Cause, the government watchdog and political reform group, announced Monday that former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) has been unanimously voted chairman of its National Governing Board.

Leach, who served in the House for 30 years until losing a re-election bid in 2006, replaces Denver lawyer Martha Tierney, who had been serving as interim chairwoman. Leach, who is the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, introduced legislation during his Congressional career calling for public financing of elections. In his own campaigns, Leach refused to accept political action committee contributions or campaign money from outside of Iowa.

[IMGCAP(1)]“We’re so busy telling everyone else in the world how to do democracy that we’ve failed to place a proper emphasis on improving our own model,” Leach said in a statement.

By becoming chairman of the Common Cause board, Leach is reunited with Bob Edgar, a former Democratic colleague from Pennsylvania who is president of the group.

“Jim Leach knows how to find common ground on the important progressive issues we work on,” Edgar said. “He brings tremendous political skill in our fight for [Common Cause founder] John Gardner’s vision of a government that serves the public’s interest, not the special interests.”

— Josh Kurtz

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