For campaign disclosure *and* anonymous political speech

I’ve written quite a bit about how Democrats are getting more money from Wall Street and K Street than Republicans are. Today on Twitter, Chris Hayes of the liberal magazine The Nation, a fellow New Yorker with whom I often agree about government corruption and lobbying, knocked me for using campaign contribution data, which he said was misleading (presumably because it excludes outside expenditures) and because I was “mak[ing] use of a regulation [I] dislike.”

But here’s the thing: I think politicians should be required to report all contributions (and I would make reporting much quicker — like within 24 hours of getting the check).

On the other hand, I don’t think outside groups should be required to disclose their spending or very much about their identity.

It comes down to this: government shouldn’t interfere with political speech, but it should regulate candidates for office. In other words, campaign contribution disclosure isn’t a regulation on the donor, but on the candidate. Requiring outside groups to file reports and follow disclosure rules is abridging political speech — it could intimidate critics of government and create barriers to entry for small players.

Beltway Confidentialcampaign financeThe NationUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

A worker sets up irrigation lines to water almond tree rootstocks along Road 36 in Tulare, Calif. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Gov. Gavin Newsom extends drought emergency to 41 California counties

Faith E. Pinho Los Angeles Times In a stark indication of California’s… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stimulus plan on Monday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner file photo)
More Californians would get new $600 stimulus checks from the state under Newsom plan

Sophia Bollag The Sacramento Bee Two-thirds of Californians would get an extra… Continue reading

Most Read