Newstalgia Reference Room - a 1974 radio documentary on Campaign Finance and proposed reforms featuring, among others, Walter Mondale and Joseph Biden.
October 28, 2010

Buying elections - timeless.

With all the talk during this mid-term election season of campaign funding and the recent Supreme Court ruling on corporate funding, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the subject was approached in 1974, hot on the heels of, what was then, a very expensive Midterm election.

Featured, among others on this NBC News Second Sunday radio documentary are Walter Mondale and Joesph Biden giving their views on the problem of campaign finance and interviews with some of the larger campaign contributors of the time. Fascinating stuff and further proof the problem has been around forever.

Walter Mondale: “As I’ve often said, it’s not that you can have a system that assures honesty, but you ought to have a system that makes it possible to be honest if you want to be. And increasingly, the cost of campaigns drive people running for office more and more to the big contributors. Many of these contributors give out of sense of public interest, and I think that has to be said; they’re not all bad people. But it makes for a situation where people with lots of money, and who are so inclined, can meet a politician who is also so inclined, and cut a deal at the cost of the public interest, which could be compromising and corrupting. The American people increasingly think we have a Buy America system where people of great wealth, who are so inclined, get a disproportionate influence at their expense, and I believe they’re right.”

And if they were right then, they are certainly right now.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.