New Op-ed piece at the Wall Street Journal: Donor Disclosure Has Its Downsides Recount Bias

The Wall Street Journal piece co-authored with Bradley Smith starts off this way:

How would you like elections without secret ballots? To most people, this would be absurd.

We have secret balloting for obvious reasons. Politics frequently generates hot tempers. People can put up yard signs or wear political buttons if they want. But not everyone feels comfortable making his or her positions public -- many worry that their choice might offend or anger someone else. They fear losing their jobs or facing boycotts of their businesses.

And yet the mandatory public disclosure of financial donations to political campaigns in almost every state and at the federal level renders people's fears and vulnerability all too real. Proposition 8 -- California's recently passed constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage by ensuring that marriage in that state remains between a man and a woman -- is a dramatic case in point. Its passage has generated retaliation against those who supported it, once their financial support was made public and put online. . . .

Some commentary at Hotair, WSJ, FreeRepublic, and Lucianne.com. Here is an editorial in the Democrat Herald from Oregon where the editorial writers appear to have been effected by our piece.

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Blogger Zeeshan said...

Merry Christmas!!!

12/26/2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger ICONIC FREEDOM said...

The question I would be asking myself is this: by donating money to this “cause”, does the cause itself promote the precepts of this nation’s founding of Freedom and Choice without infringing on the Freedoms and Choices of others?

If the answer is not of such endorsement, then questioning the motivations seeks to reveal the true nature of such donations and thus a person’s ownership of self-interest.

Personally, I have no issue with anyone’s personal choice, save for its subjective infringement of another’s free choice and liberties. I always appreciate information provided from another revealing who they are as a person from within, which their choices reflect.

If you make such a choice, you must own it and be able to respond to it.

Perhaps the nature of one wanting to not be revealed for donations of endorsement is because one seeks to mask bigotry or bias which desires to infringe on the freedoms of others because of personal derivations or ideologies.

12/27/2008 9:37 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Without public disclosure of campaign contributions, how are we to control corruption?

A very nasty catch 22, isn't it?

12/27/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger Joe C said...

You seem obsessed with recount bias. What exactly does the title of this piece mean? Title: "New Op-ed piece at the Wall Street Journal: Donor Disclosure Has Its Downsides Recount Bias". Huh?

So is that just another John Lott mistake, or are you trying to style yourself the "Recount Bias" guy in order to improve your Google rank?

12/27/2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Martin:

Thanks. I would leave that up to the individual campaigns and the voters. If that was an issue that the voters were concerned about, candidates who provided that information would have an advantage and could campaign against those candidates who were unwilling to reveal the names of their donors.

12/27/2008 12:49 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Excellent point, Dr. Lott.

I must ask this though; What affect do the campaigns, and or the media have upon individual voters? Could they influence voters one way or the other on this subject, and if so, who determines what is ethical, and what is not...

12/30/2008 9:01 PM  

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