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John Bolton on Government Reform

 


1976: Challenged post-Watergate campaign finance reform

I spent a large part of 1974-76 working on Buckly v. Valeo, challenging the constitutionality of every major provision of the post-Watergate campaign-finance "reform" legislation. Overreacting to Watergate, as in other laws such as the War Powers Act and the Independent Counsel statute, Congress had set strict contribution and expenditure limits on federal campaigns; tried to limit drastically "independent expenditures" separate from campaigns; imposed sweeping reporting and disclosure requirements; created a system of public financing for presidential elections; and established a new regulatory body, the Federal Election Commission, to oversee the law. This entire construct violated the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech, and we initially hoped President Ford would veto the legislation. Given the weakened state of the Ford presidency and the overwhelming pressure to "reform," that proved impossible.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 14 , Nov 6, 2007

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Page last updated: Mar 19, 2014