1974 December 20

Dick Cheney to President Ford: Restore Authority of the President


Dick Cheney, chief of staff to President Gerald Ford, advised Ford of the need to restore the authority of the Executive branch vis-à-vis Congress. The advice was a response to the reassertion of Congressional authority during and immediately after the Watergate Scandal (which began with the famous break-in on June 17, 1972). Congressional actions included, for example, the War Powers Resolution (November 7, 1973) that sought to limit the power of the president to commit U.S. troops to combat. Cheney’s advice is documented in undated notes in the Cheney files in the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. (Given the materials in the files, the date can be reasonably estimated.)

The advice to Ford is important because it presaged Cheney’s views on presidential power when he was Vice President under George W. Bush, 27 years later. Cheney delivered a more elaborate statement of his views on presidential power in the Minority Report to the Congressional investigation report on the Iran-Contra scandal, released on November 17, 1987.

Learn more about Cheney:  Barton Gelman, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (2008)

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