On February 9, 2000, as I was working toward completion of this book, I was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Federal Election Commission, the independent federal agency that oversees enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. This created an outcry of sorts, unprecedented for a nominee to this rather obscure government agency. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois dubbed me a “nihilist.” Scott Harshbarger, the president of Common Cause, called my nomination a throwback “to the dark days of Watergate.” Editorial writers compared nominating me to public office to nominating pornographer Larry Flynt, former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, and murderer Ted Kaczynski (aka the “Unabomber”) to public office. From there it often got worse.
Most telling, however, were the comments of Vice President Al Gore. Opposing the nomination of his own president, the vice president declared, “the last