James Albert Smith Leach was a fifteen-term Republican member of the U. S. House of Representatives representing the 2nd district of Iowa in the state's east central and southeast area (map). Before redistricting, Leach served the 1st district from 1977-2003. He was defeated by a 51% majority in the November 2006 election by Democrat David Loebsack.
"James A. Leach is the Director of the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
"Prior to his appointment, Leach taught at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University where he was John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs. Before joining the Princeton faculty he served 30 years as a representative in Congress where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
"Legislation Leach authored spanned the gamut from creation of an international AID’s Trust Fund to debt relief for the world’s poorest countries; from authorization of an IMF quota increase to making the Peace Corps an independent federal agency; from requiring the federal government to use soy ink to prohibiting internet gambling; from restraining federal employee growth to redressing certain Holocaust asset losses.
"The legislation he is perhaps best known for is Gramm-Leach-Bliley which is considered one of the seminal pieces of banking legislation of the 20th century, second in import only to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
"After attending Princeton, the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins, and the London School of Economics, Leach entered the United States Foreign Service and served as a delegate to the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the U.N. General Assembly. In 1973, Leach resigned his commission in protest of the Saturday Night Massacre when Richard Nixon fired his Attorney General, Eliot Richardson, and the independent counsel investigating the Watergate break-in, Archibald Cox.
"After returning to Iowa to head a family business, Leach was elected in 1976 to Congress where he came to be a leader of a small band of moderate Republicans. He chaired two national organizations dedicated to moderate Republican causes – the Ripon Society and the Republican Mainstream Committee. He also served as president of the largest international association of legislators – Parliamentarians for Global Action.
"Leach serves on the board of several public companies and three non-profit organizations – the Century Foundation, the Kettering Foundation, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and formerly served as a trustee of Princeton University.
"Leach holds eight honorary degrees and has received decorations from two foreign governments. He is the recipient of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award from Johns Hopkins, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, and the Edger Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club. A three-sport athlete in college, Leach was elected to the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the International Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa.
"Leach resides in Iowa City and Cambridge with his wife Elisabeth (Deba), son Gallagher, and daughter Jenny." 
- 1 Record and controversies
- 2 Bio
- 3 Meet the Cash Constituents
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Committees and Affiliations
- 6 More Background Data
- 7 Articles and Resources
- 8 Contact
- 9 Resources and articles
Record and controversies
Leach voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) is a U.S. law which was approved in late 2006, and co-sponsored by Reps. Leach and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). It was added to the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 via conference committee and was signed by President Bush on October 13, 2006. The Act prohibits the transfer of funds from a financial institution to an Internet gambling site, with the notable exceptions of "fantasy" sports, online lotteries, and horse/harness racing.
- Main article: Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006
Leach was born October 15, 1942 in Davenport, Iowa. He was educated at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics, and was a foreign service officer with the Department of State, a member of the U.S. delegations to the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the United Nations General Assembly, a business executive and director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board before entering the House.
Leach is consistently one of the most liberal Republicans in the House. He voted against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution and favors legal abortion. His district is considered Iowa's most Democratic district and became even more Democratic after redistricting in 2000. His hometown of Davenport was moved to Jim Nussle's district, forcing Leach to move to Iowa City. He faced his closest contest ever, winning by only four percentage points.
Despite having served on then-Congressman Donald Rumsfeld's staff in the mid-1960's and later working with both Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney in the Nixon administration, Leach has been one of the few Republicans in congress reluctant to support continued expansion of the US military role in Iraq. 
In 2006, the Democrats nominated David Loebsack to face Leach in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006)  Loebsack won the election 51% to 49% to take over the seat. 
According to personal finance disclosure reports released in 2002, Leach owns between $3.1 million and $14.2 million of stocks, mutual funds and farmland. This includes between $167,000 and $430,000 worth of stock in Lee Enterprises (which owns newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Muscatine, Mason City and Sioux City) and between $2,002 and $30,000 worth of stock in Gannett Co. Inc., which owns the Press-Citizen and Des Moines Register (Iowa City Press-Citizen and Muscatine newspapers are in his congressional district).
Meet the Cash Constituents
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Jim Leach
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
Committees and Affiliations
On the Board of Governors for the Partnership for Public Service.
Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- House Committee on Financial Services
- Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy Trade and Technology
- House Committee on International Relations
- Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific - Chair
- Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Committees and Caucuses
- Founder, Republican Mainstream Committee, 1984
- National President, Ripon Society 1981-88
- Member, Republican Mainstreet Partnership
Boards and other Affiliations
- Member, Parliamentarians for Global Action 
- Public Advisory Committee, Population Institute
- National Advisory Board, AmericaSpeaks 
- Director, Pro Publica
- Director, Internews
- Board of Governors, Partnership for Public Service
- Advisory Council, U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy 
- Founding Board, Project Vote Smart 
- Advisory Council, Stanley Foundation 
More Background Data
Articles and Resources
Local blogs and discussion sites
District Office - Burlington:
214 Jefferson Street
Burlington, IA 52601
District Office - Cedar Rapids:
129 Twelfth Street Southeast
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
District Office - Iowa City:
Plaza Centre One
125 South Dubuque Street
Iowa City, IA 52240-4003
District Office - Ottumwa:
105 East Third Street, Room 201
Ottumwa, IA 52501
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Directors, ProPublica, accessed February 7, 2008.
- Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
- National Advisory Board, AmericaSpeaks, accessed October 25, 2007.
- Advisory Council, U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, accessed August 17, 2008.
- Project Vote Smart's Founding & Executive Board Member, Project Vote Smart, accessed November 12, 2008.
- Governance, Stanley Foundation, accessed December 23, 2008.