Why campaign donations should be secret

There is a real cost to making campaign donations public.  Take an example from this week: 
Mozilla -- most famous for its Firefox browser -- patted itself on the back for standing up for equal rights when it forced out CEO Brendan Eich Thursday after only a week on the job.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based organization infuriated many employees and users last week by promoting Eich. The hullabaloo centered on Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to support Prop 8, the California initiative that barred same-sex marriage in the state.
The dating website OkCupid, which says 8 percent of its users are gay or lesbian, boycotted Firefox earlier this week, telling its users not to use Mozilla's software to access the site in light of Eich's promotion. . . .
Imagine the impact that public information on donors could have on the willingness of people to make donations against powerful politicians. 



OpenID valentsgrif said...

Looks like tolerance is a one way street.

4/04/2014 4:20 PM  
Blogger Glenn Jericho said...

I think it's also worth noting that several of the authors of the "Federalist Papers" and the "Anti-Federalists Papers" wrote under pseudonyms, as well as Thomas Paine when he originally published "Common Sense".

The US Supreme Court also wrote a good opinion on anonymity in political discussion in "McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission", citing the three following reasons (from Wikipedia):

Enhance authority - "Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent."

Encourage open discourse - "The interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry."

Safety from retaliation - "The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic of official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one's privacy as possible."

4/04/2014 11:32 PM  

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