Iowa pays the price

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

As the 2016 Iowa caucuses grow nearer, students on campus will inevitably be bombarded with more and more surveys, negative campaign ads and presidential debates.

As a result, students will naturally become more familiar with the various presidential candidates and their respective policies. However, one major issue in the presidential race that rarely receives ample media coverage is money – namely, the money that funds these candidates’ campaigns.

Iowa Pays the Price, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, aims to rectify that by spreading increased awareness of the significant role that money plays in politics. The organization will be at the Maucker Union from 12:00-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, where they will be distributing literature and speaking with any interested students, faculty, staff and community members.

According to the organization’s official website, “Iowa Pays the Price supports increasing transparency in campaign finance, accountability for those who break the rules, and increasing participation in our democracy.”

The organization was founded in Iowa under a year ago and is already extremely active in raising awareness towards their cause, especially among young people.

“Younger generations tend to be the most politically involved when it comes to organizing and staying on board with certain issues,” said Jaime Yowler, a 2013 UNI graduate and member of Iowa Pays the Price. “We want to make sure that young people are paying attention to the issues that are surrounding the political sphere at this point in time and really understand the influence of money in politics.”

One such politically aware student is freshman elementary education major Etienne Porras.

“There’s no way to deny that money plays a huge role in politics,” said Porras. “I think that money in politics ought to be on just a small, individual level. When you have these massive companies that contribute so much money to the particular candidate who they approve of, it allows their voice to be far louder than anyone else’s. And that’s where I think money is starting to poison the democratic process that we, as Americans, pride so well.”

Senior computer science major Jacob Espenscheid shared similar concerns.

“I think that if a politician is paid by Big Business to run, and gets elected,” said Espenscheid, “it is just like electing the owners of the big business.”

According to Iowa Pays the Price’s website, “Since the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, the amount of campaign spending in Iowa has exploded, and for the first time ever most of the spending is being done by outside groups rather than candidates.”

Being a non-partisan group, Iowa Pays the Price aims to raise awareness on such relevant issues as outside spending without any major political biases.

Yowler went on to discuss possible plans for the organization to establish a presence on UNI’s campus.

“We met briefly with different organizations on campus, Yowler said, “and we’re kind of using this event as perhaps a launch of getting students on UNI’s campus a little bit more involved and even starting a local chapter or an affiliate of Iowa Pays the Price.”