Ever since President Reagan confirmed that the U.S. secretly sold weapons to Iran, questions about the conduct of foreign policy have dogged the White House.
Criticism mounted when newspapers reported that money from the arms deal went to support anti-Communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua, at a time when Congress prohibited such aid.
Administration supporters say Congress’s ban on Contra funding didn’t apply to this operation, and might not be constitutional in any case.
A majority in the House and Senate disagree. A report issued today says that by circumventing Congress’s power of the purse, the administration’s actions “strike at the very heart of the system of checks and balances.”