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How Donor Disclosure Hurts Democracy

2011-04-13 03:17:08.6351+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

I don't have a subscription, so I can't read it, but James L Huffman in the WSJ writes How Donor Disclosure Hurts Democracy, and is quoted by Jonathan H. Adler over at the Volokh Conspiracy:

A challenger seeks a contribution from a person known to support candidates of the challenger’s party. The potential supporter responds: “I’m glad you’re running. I agree with you on almost everything. But I can’t support you because I cannot risk getting my business crosswise with the incumbent who is likely to be re-elected.” . . .

As previously mentioned, I serve on the Petaluma Technology & Telecommunications Advisory Committee. We committee members are subject to the Brown Act. What this means in practice is that we can't talk to each other except once a month, we have to file annoying financial disclosure paperwork, and, because this is just an advisory committee, we don't actually have any power.

Thus I'm probably just going to let my membership lapse, because as an official member I'm less likely to do anything useful. I've long suspected that most campaign finance and political "sunshine" laws simply entrench the existing power structure, this is yet another example of a mechanism by which that might work.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-04-14 15:32:49.412944+00 by: Dan Lyke

Great point.

And as much as I whine about the Brown Act, there are good reasons for that, too.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-04-14 15:26:03.313681+00 by: petronius

Companies that supported the anti-gay referendum were boycotted by members of the public. Is that the same thing as being afraid the city fathers will zone you out of existance in revenge?