John Bell feature

Library of Congress: John Bell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left, eyes front

First Bill to Ban Campaign-Related Political Assessments From Government Employees Is Introduced

By January 25, 1837

The first bill to ban campaign-related political assessments from government employees is introduced by Congressman and former Speaker of the House, John Bell of Tennessee. In relevant part, the bill provided that no one shall be appointed to any government position “upon any agreement that such person or persons . . . shall exert his or their influence in any election.” The bill, however, did not reach the House floor until 1840, and then failed.


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