Why Watergate-era campaign finance laws haven’t stopped corruption

Posted on AllSides June 22nd, 2022
From The Left
(John Duricka/AP)

Ellen L. Weintraub is a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission.

The burglars who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate office complex 50 years ago sparked coverups, investigations, constitutional crises, a presidential resignation, deep damage to Americans’ faith in government and a raft of bipartisan legislation aimed at restoring that faith. One of those laws created a small federal agency to “follow the money,” the Federal Election Commission, where I serve.

Those laws also triggered an almost immediate backlash at the Supreme Court, beginning with its Buckley v. Valeo decision in 1976 and accelerating...

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