Interview with the New Chairman Of the Rose Board

The following article is from our Fall, 2007 newsletter:

Darryl Wold served as a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (1998-2002), including terms as chairman (2000) and vice chairman (1999). Mr. Wold has served as counsel to Reed & Davidson since 1988. He has been an assistant to the speaker of the California State Assembly, a consultant on redistricting plans for the Rose Institute, and has managed political campaigns. Mr. Wold graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Economics-Accounting from Claremont McKenna College and received his L.L.B. from Stanford University. He is licensed to practice in California and the District of Columbia, and before the United States Supreme Court.

What in your opinion was the most fascinating part of serving on the FEC?

Having a decision-making position like that inside the federal government has so many fascinating aspects that I couldn’t pick out just one. Just being in Washington, D.C. was a fascinating experience – it is a great city, politically, historically, culturally, and socially. On the FEC, I particularly enjoyed working with one of my five colleagues, Commissioner David Mason, CMC ’79, who was appointed at the same time as I was. We didn’t know each other before our appointments, but quickly found common ground in our similar approaches to interpreting governmental regulation of campaign finance – which is really regulation of speech – narrowly, with a respect for the First Amendment. Our similar approaches were grounded in part in the experiences we’d both had at CMC, with the emphasis on principles of federalism and freedom in our government classes.

With all your prior experience practicing law, what in your opinion was the most interesting case that you handled?

Particularly interesting was the redistricting litigation before the California Supreme court in the early 1980’s. I served as co-counsel with former congressman Charles Wiggins for the California Republican Congressional Delegation, in challenging the plan drawn by Congressman Phil Burton – a plan that took the art of the gerrymander from the sublime to the ridiculous. Equally interesting was recent work I did for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs on a variety of issues.

Among other things, we challenged the attempt by the California Fair Political Practices Commission to assert jurisdiction over the Tribe in California courts for an enforcement action, by asserting the Tribe’s historical sovereign immunity as a defense. In the end, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against us, but I learned a great deal about the constitutional and historical roots of tribal sovereign immunity, and grew to appreciate and respect the Tribe’s interests in that doctrine.

Do you believe that there will be a more successful way redistricting in California is done, and what are the obstacles in the way?

I always like to be optimistic for an improvement in the ways districts are drawn; however, state legislators have an understandable self-interest in keeping control of drawing the boundaries.

This is obviously the largest obstacle that redistricting reform faces. If you are an elected official, there is no reason to want to give up control of how you draw the districts.

Given your wide wealth of experience in different positions, which did you find to be most rewarding, and what drew you towards these positions?

I found every position that I’ve had to be very rewarding. All of them have allowed me to have an influence on public policy but each has also involved solving problems for individuals, so it’s been a good balance.

Is there anything that stands out in your memory regarding your time at CMC?

I have a lot of memories, even though in the somewhat distant past at this point, but most revolve around the camaraderie that develops in a fairly small student body, and the close relationship with excellent professors in small classes. When I went on to law school at Stanford, even though the law school was fairly small, I found myself in the middle of a big
campus with 15,000 or more undergraduates, and I realized how fortunate I’d been to attend CMC.

What aspects of the Rose Institute drew you to the Board of Governors originally?

The opportunity to spend time with current CMC students was a really large attraction to getting involved. It allows for me to continue to stay connected with the students at CMC and to learn about the different projects they are working on, as well as to be able to help them with their research. In addition, I’ve always had an interest in the Rose Institute’s redistricting projects. I worked with CMC’s Dr. Alan Heslop on California redistricting following the 1970 census, when the use of computers in redistricting was just beginning. We created a statewide computerized data base that was the precursor to those at what became the Rose Institute.

Do you expect, as the new Chairman, to make any changes in how the Board of Governors operates?

No, this is a very collegial group of governors and I do not have an agenda going in. Things will change of their own accord, but I have been happy with how the Board operates.

Leave a reply