To old political hands, wise to the ways of candidates and money, 1972 was a watershed year. Richard M. Nixon's re-election campaign was awash in cash, secretly donated by corporations and individuals.
Fred Wertheimer, a longtime supporter of campaign finance regulation, was then a lawyer for Common Cause. He vividly recalls the weeks leading up to April 7, 1972, before a new campaign finance law went into effect requiring the disclosure of the names of individual donors. "Contributors," he said, "were literally flying into Washington with satchels of cash."