Open the floodgates, and let the monies, big and small, check and balance each other. And let transparency be the safeguard against corruption. As long as you know who is giving what to whom, you can look for, find and, if necessary, prosecute corrupt connections between donor and receiver.
This used to be my position. No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure.
It is now an invitation to the creation of enemies lists. Containing, for example, Brendan Eich, forced to resign as Mozilla CEO when it was disclosed that six years earlier he’d given $1,000 to support a referendum banning gay marriage. He was hardly the first. Activists compiled blacklists of donors to Proposition 8 and went after them. Indeed, shortly after the referendum passed, both the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento and the president of the Los Angeles Film Festival were hounded out of office.
Referendums produce the purest example of transparency misused because corrupt favoritism is not an issue. There’s no one to corrupt. Supporting a referendum is a pure expression of one’s beliefs. Full disclosure in that context becomes a cudgel, an invitation to harassment.
KIM: Here’s a disturbing thing. I did ask some of my gay activist friends, I was like, “Look, here’s a list; 6,500 people gave the same amount that he did or more in California. Should we go down the list and sort of start targeting all these people?” And I asked this facetiously, and people were like, “Let’s do it. Let’s find out where those people live. It’s all-” To me, that’s a disturbing level-
KIM: – of targeting people.
Donor lists as enemies lists: we’re there.