POLITICS: A Defeat for Campaign Reform

"It is no longer government of, for and by the people," complained Senator Walter Mondale. "It is government of, for and by those who are willing and able to pay the price." The Minnesota Democrat was pointing out a major lesson of Watergate: the corrosive power of private money in electoral campaigns, what he called "the buy-America system." The efforts of Mondale and other reform-minded legislators bogged down last week in a snarl that once again effectively killed reform of the nation's laws governing campaign financing.

The congressional tangle began late last month when the Senate, by a 57-to-34 vote,...

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