Skip to content

In Defense of Political Anonymity

March 12, 2010

Bradley Smith in City Journal:

Imagine if the George W. Bush administration, in its waning days, had introduced something called the Patriot II Act. To prevent terrorists and foreign agents from influencing American governments and political parties, the act would require political campaigns and other groups to report the names, addresses, and employers of their supporters to the federal government, which would enter the information into a database. The act would also give businesses access to this database, enabling them to make hiring decisions, credit determinations, and other choices based on political activity. Can anyone doubt that Patriot II would be widely considered a gross violation of civil liberties?

Fortunately, the government never passed such a bill. Unfortunately, it didn’t need to: this is already the law, and it has been for over 30 years. It is, in fact, one of the most popular laws in America: the Federal Election Campaign Act, which does indeed require campaigns, political parties, and certain citizens’ groups engaged in politics to report the names, addresses, and employment information of their financial supporters. This information is maintained in a government database that is available to anyone—businesses, union bosses, local officials, nosy neighbors, and whoever else might be curious about somebody’s politics. [More]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s