AMERICAN NOTES: Starving the Candidates

When the Supreme Court invalidated the Federal Election Commission, it also threw a lot of presidential candidates into a financial limbo—they were unable to collect after March 22 the matching funds promised by the austere new campaign laws. With their cash-boxes rapidly emptying and no federal money to bail them out, a number of candidates dropped out of active campaigning. With crucial primaries coming up, Ronald Reagan has formally applied for $557,000 from the FEC but has no way to get at it.

Facing a critical situation, Congress acted characteristically: it dawdled over the bill to reactivate the commission, declining...

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