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Full disclosure helps prevent anonymous manipulation

By Letters to the Editor

To The Editor:

The Mercury is to be applauded for its editorial stance opposing limits on funding of campaigns coupled with full disclosure of contributors. While I disagree with the Supreme Court’s finding that money equals speech, that is the law and therefore the principle must be respected until such time, if any, as it is overturned.

Equally and concurrently important, however, is the principle of full disclosure, since information is the public’s best defense against control of elections by small, anonymous cliques.

I recall some years ago talking with Pat Roberts about this question. The senator was persuasive in his advocacy against spending limits as an unconstitutional abridgement of speech, but in favor of full disclosure. I wrote about the senator’s position at the time. As a private citizen today, I hope and trust he has not com-promised or altered his view-point.

In today’s political climate, the fear that potential contributors may be intimidated by pressure groups is understandable. Note the recent “outing” of the Mozilla official for contributing to the California marriage amendment a few years back. However, it should be noted that such pressure — call it blackmail, if you will — cannot work as long as there are two or more valid political sides to the debate, a condition we are likely to generally enjoy for the long-term future.

And even in the unlikely event that one party or viewpoint collapses, political intimidation still cannot work unless we as citizens allow it to do so. I’m not afraid of that, and unless members of the political class lack confidence in their own future, I don’t think they ought to be, either.









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