Prop 8 Supporters Sue to End Donor Disclosure
Having failed in their mid-campaign attempt to blackmail Prop 8 opponents, Prop 8 supporters have now filed suit to end any disclosure of donations to political campaigns, citing evidence of harassment and menace. Via Calitics, the Sacramento Bee reports:
The Proposition 8 campaign has filed a federal suit challenging the constitutionality of California’s campaign finance laws that compel disclosure of personal information by campaign donors who they said have been threatened and harassed.
The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, cites numerous examples of menacing e-mails, phone calls and postcards, including death threats, allegedly made by opponents of the November ballot measure that banned same-sex measure in the state.
"This harassment is made possible because of California’s unconstitutional campaign finance disclosure rules," Ron Prentice, chairman of the Yes on 8 campaign, said in a prepared statement.
Prentice noted that as applied to ballot measure committees, "even donors of as little as $100 must have their names, home addresses and employers listed on public documents."
As Robert in Monterey points out at Calitics, Ron Prentice was a signatory to the blackmail letter sent to Prop 8 opponents last fall telling them they needed to donate an equal amount to the passage of Prop 8 or face "outing" as a business opposed to traditional marriage. Will Prentice cite his own blackmail letter as evidence of the kind of harassment and threats donors are exposed to?
Robert points out that the hypocrisy is quite wall-to-wall on this lawsuit:
Further, in yet another act of hypocrisy, the very people claiming that courts should not overturn "the will of the voters" are suing to undo the outcome of the Political Reform Act of 1974 – which, you guessed it, was passed by voters that year as Proposition 9.
It would be laughable if the attack wasn’t such a dangerous threat to our democracy. If they are successful, the anti-marriage forces will be able to raise FAR more money than they did this year. Companies that rely on same sex marriage supporters for their profits could take that money, give it to the haters, without the public knowing or being able to take their business elsewhere. It could provide their side with a significant financial advantage over ours in a future ballot campaign.
No one should be harassed for their participation in, or donation to, causes before the voters. But people need to understand that their participation may very well have consequences: consumers may choose not to spend their money with companies that donate to restrict civil rights.
A vigorous democracy thrives best in sunlight. This lawsuit would put donations in the dark. That’s a bad idea.
UPDATE: PageOneQ has more.