Monday, October 18, 2010

Disclose Third-Party Donors?

Should your donation to an interest group which advertises in a political campaign be disclosed?

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel editorial board, Johnson was asked whether he would require transparency for outside groups active in campaigns.

"I would like to see total transparency. The same thing" as with the candidates, he said. "But at the same time we are talking about free speech."

Johnson was asked, "If I give to 'Americans for Great Things,' and I give a million dollars to them, should that organization be required to disclose that?"

His response: "It's an interesting question. It may be more complex than I'm thinking about it right now. My tendency is yes, particularly if then they're going to be using it in a political way. I can also see where people go, 'Well, if I'm going to give to a group maybe I don't want it (public).' I haven't totally thought that one through in terms of all groups."

Johnson may not know that the non-disclosure laws were adopted to protect people who donated to the NAACP in the South during the voting-rights campaigns. And he may not recall the vicious personal targeting of individuals who contributed to the 'no-gay-marriage' campaign in California just last year.

Yes, Ron, there are reasons that non-disclosure exists.


Jack Lohman said...

"Disclosure" does NOT, in any way, shape or form, violate free speech. It is a lame excuse, and not even a good one.

Dad29 said...

Well, Jack....

It's a "sorry excuse" if you disclose and your house is burned down as a result?

Maybe YOU don't have a wife or children. Others do.

Jack Lohman said...

Dad, I do have a house, wife, kids, grandkids, and a great-grandkid, and as you must know by now I do not hide behind anonymity (no offense, mind you). But I also don't want domestic and foreign companies running our political system OR our democracy, and my heart does NOT side with Sorros or Murdock.

If a company loses consumers because of stupid positions against the public's best interest, I tend to put that in the "free-market and responsibility" categories, of which neither support "hiding."

Dad29 said...

Yah, well, Jack...

Fact is that there will ALWAYS be 'influences' from domestic (or foreign) companies and individuals.

That's the nature of "influence," whether it shows up in money or not.

We both seem to believe that the Country's interests should be placed first. Good.

That doesn't include universal "healthcare," in my opinion.


Jack Lohman said...

"Influence?" Or "bribes?"

Get the bribes out of the system and I'd accept whatever health care system they legitimately came up with.

Dad29 said...

Your problem, of course, is making the case that contributions = bribery.

You are making an assumption of malice on the part of the Congresscritter, which is very difficult to make.

There are cases where (although unproven) it is clear that there's a helluvalotta smoke (Murtha of PA was one.)

Better: reduce the influence and reach of Gummint. Less reason(s) to "influence" or "bribe."

The second problem you will have is making the case that ANY theory of Gummint is naturally inimical to the best interests of the country.

Some obviously are. Some obviously are not. But it's the ones in the middle which are 'policy' or 'theory' questions which are the hard ones.

IOW, the decisions made "at the margins" are the ones which are the hard ones.

But are those decisions made in bad faith, every time?

Not likely.

Jack Lohman said...

>>> You are making an assumption of malice on the part of the Congresscritter, which is very difficult to make.

Give me a break, Dad. As a business owner I did not spend money unless it returned results, and you are telling me that today's Fat Cats may be guilty of bribery but the politicians are just blindly taking in the cash?

>>> Better: reduce the influence and reach of Gummint. Less reason(s) to "influence" or "bribe."

Great idea. You get those who have the power to eliminate their power and then report back to me when successful.