The Nation: Choosing the Checkoff

Public financing of presidential elections would relieve a national concern magnified by Watergate: the unhealthy dependence of major candidates on large private donations. In 1971, Congress passed legislation that amounted to a kind of camel's nose of public financing. It permitted each taxpayer to check a box on his income tax form to indicate that $1 of his taxes ($2 for a couple filing jointly) should go into a fund for presidential campaigns.

But the Administration was not enthusiastic about the idea, and when the Internal Revenue Service offered the option last year it put the checkoff box on a form separate...

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