For some reason, the same people who think they and the government should know everything about your private giving don’t care to know that all votes are legally cast.
This is being demonstrated in Arizona, where a ballot measure campaign with former Democrat Attorney General Terry Goddard as figurehead has proposed two big measures.
One proposal sought to permanently install loose election protocols like automatic voter registration, same-day registration, drop boxes, and extended early voting periods. A judge tossed the measure from the ballot last week due to issues with petition signatures, the same judge did not rule against an anti-privacy ballot measure.
The measure that remains on the ballot would require non-profit issue groups to disclose the “original source of funds” for any contributions totaling $5,000 to an organization that spends at least $25,000 on “campaigns.”
While made to sound like it’s limited to campaign finance, the definition of “campaigns” is loose and would limit the ability of citizen groups, non-profits, and issue advocacy organizations to talk about policy issues.
The measure’s definition of “independent campaign spending” includes any public communication that “promotes or attacks” a candidate within a full calendar year of an election; simply refers to a candidate within three months of an election in their district; any critiques or praise for ballot referendums. It also seems to include criticisms of political party-led voter registration efforts.
Oddly enough, political action committees that receive more than $5,000 from one individual are not covered by the measure.
These broad definitions would mean groups talking about policies or legislation supported by sitting elected officials would be covered by these rules. They would be roped into figuring out the “original source of funds” for the money they spent on such communication. That means the initial person or business who earned the money. It’s unclear if this absurd standard would even be possible to fulfill in many cases.
Even if it is possible, it’s likely unconstitutional, and would result in either the government having big databases of people supporting various causes, or voices being silenced as groups stop speaking out under threat of fines and subpoenas. This would mean less informed citizens.
When government houses information, that information is not supposed to be public, but leaks and breaches are far too common.
California’s unconstitutional non-profit donor reporting requirement, started under Kamala Harris, resulted in a leak. The IRS has been hacked, exposing taxpayers personal information – and just admitted to leaving sensitive taxpayer information publicly-visible on their website. The Department of Health and Human Services was hacked. These are just a few high profile examples that show government warehousing personal information will likely mean it gets exposed. And anyone who disagrees with their views then has the opportunity to retaliate.
Dressed up in talk about a “voter’s right to know” is the real goal of those behind the Arizona measure: to silence people and organizations with whom they disagree. Privacy is required to protect free speech. This measure is unconstitutional and dangerous, especially in a time of heightened violence over policy views.
Image: WikiMedia Commons; Niabot (2011)