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About the Secretary of the Senate | Francis R. Valeo, 1966-1977

Frank Valeo

Francis “Frank” Valeo began his career as a Far East specialist with the Legislative Research Service of the Library of Congress. After becoming chief of the Foreign Affairs Division, he was “loaned” to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then joined the staff of Montana senator Mike Mansfield. Valeo continued as Mansfield’s administrative assistant when Mansfield became Democratic leader in 1961. In 1966 Valeo began serving as secretary of the Senate. Under his leadership, staff positions were redefined from patronage to professional status, a trend continued by Valeo's successors. Today, Valeo is perhaps best known for the 1974 Supreme Court decision bearing his name—Buckley v. Valeo—in which the Court upheld several parts of the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act, including public disclosure requirements, public financing of presidential elections, and limits on individual contributions, while striking down many of the provisions on spending limits. Valeo also left his mark on Senate history and art. In 1968, when the Senate created its Commission on Art, Valeo established the Office of Senate Curator. Seven years later, he opened the Senate Historical Office and hired Richard Baker as the first Senate historian.

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