xix Chronology 1974 On August 8, President Richard Nixon resigns and is replaced in the Oval Office by his vice president, Gerald Ford. 1974 Congress amends the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) to provide for public funding in presidential races as well as limits on political contributions and expenditures. 1976 In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court upholds contribution limits and declares unconstitutional the expenditure limits set in the 1974 FECA. 1978 The Supreme Court rules in First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti that corporations have a First Amendment right to expend money on ballot measures. 1978 The FBI begins a sting operation called ABSCAM that eventually results in the prosecution and conviction of several public officials for bribery. 1978 In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Congress adopts the Ethics in Government Act, mandating public disclosure of financial data for public officials and their family. 1986 William Rehnquist becomes Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 1986 The Supreme Court rules in Federal Election Commission v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Inc., that a state law banning a nonprofit corporation from expending money for political purposes violates the First Amendment. 1987 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repeals the Fairness Doctrine. 1989 Five senators known as the Keating Five are investigated for corruption in connection with an influence scandal associated with banker Charles Keating. Three of the five senators ultimately receive formal reprimands from the Senate Ethics Committee, while the other two are rebuked for their “poor judgment” in the affair. 1990 In Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Court upholds a state law preventing corporations from expending money for political purposes to influence campaigns and elections. 1990 In Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, the Supreme Court declares the use of party affiliation by the government to determine hiring, firing, or other employment decisions to be unconstitutional. 1994 Minnesota becomes one of the first states to enact a gift ban law that prevents lobbyists from giving anything of value to elected or public officials. 1995 Congress adopts the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. 1995 In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, the Supreme Court declares that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to engage in anonymous political speech.
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