Saturday, October 26, 2013

Is anonymity in political donations like anonymous speech?

The Wall Street Journal talked about California’s law (the Political Reform Act), passed in 1974, which makes it almost impossible to keep political contributions anonymous, in an op-ed by Allysia Finkey Saturday, link here
If campaign contributions amount to speech, then anonymity in supporting candidates with money would seem to be a basic fundamental right.  Then, you ask, should out-of-state religious donors who tried to support Proposition 8 in California remain unnamed, and protected from public shaming or maybe boycotts?  The question would have more sting if you go back to 1978, when there was a referendum (the Briggs Initiative) which would have banned gay teachers.
As for speech, I’ve always thought it was more effective when your name s on it.  But then, there is conflict of interest, and the idea you can’t bite the hand that feeds you.  I’ve been in that place before.
It strikes me that a significant portion of younger people don’t see anonymity as essential.  Facebook, after all, requires a real name for a personal account. It’s policy is worth reviewing, here
Even as I read this, I wonder how this has played out in “Arab spring” protests.
Until maybe ten years ago, it was possible to lead a “double life”.  Remember how recently the military had “don’t ask, don’t tell”.  Remember when there was a public life and a private life? No more.
Should campaigns be any different?  Remember, a few years ago, there was even a flak over whether blogs should be viewed as “political endorsements” and accounted for.  That, thankfully, blew over. 

First picture, from EFF, rally on survelliance in DC today; others, mine, from AIDSWalk, which passed the NSA-surveillance protest rally. 

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