James Albert Smith Leach (born October 15, 1942) is an American academic and former politician. He served as ninth Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa (1977–2007). Leach was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. He also served as the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from September 17, 2007, to September 1, 2008, when Bill Purcell was appointed permanent director. Previously, Leach served 30 years (1977–2007) as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Iowa's 2nd congressional district (numbered as the 1st District from 1977 to 2003). In Congress, Leach chaired the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services (1995–2001) and was a senior member of the House Committee on International Relations, serving as Chair of the committee's Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs (2001–2006). He also founded and served as co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus. He lost his 2006 re-election bid to Democrat Dave Loebsack. Leach sponsored the 1999 Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, a notable piece of banking legislation of the 20th century. In 2022, he broke with the Republican Party and endorsed a Democrat running the represent his former district.
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