For any successful campaign you need money. Money is the fuel for speech. However there are cases in businesses and individuals clouding their donations because people did not want their donations exposed to scrutiny. Recently a top Romney donor Frank VanderSloot had customers cancel their business relationships with him because they did not want to patronize a businessman who had views that were contrary to their principles because Frank harbors deep prejudices to the LGBT community.
President Obama’s campaign has showcased a few of the top donors to his campaign in the website “Keeping the GOP Honest”. Conservative blogs consider this as an “enemies list”, but knowing who candidates are getting funds from are a healthy indicator of what type of interest and policies candidates are getting their appeal from. However instead of crying to your compatriots about how Obama is hurting your business, scrutinize Obama’s contributors to his Super PAC and his regular campaign committees as well. I bet Obama has just as many shady characters just as much as Romney.
Individuals and businesses should be able to stand by their donations instead of hiding from them. If you did not like my donations to Ron Paul, then you should be free to patronize or not patronize me if I was a captain of industry. I think its responsible for consumers to pull out their business if business people have principles contrary to their values.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Just as how Fred Karger exposed the major players who helped to fund discrimination in California, people should have the choice not to patronize the San Diego storage business owner Terry Caster who spent over 693,000 in sponsoring Proposition 8. Even the National Organization for Marriage wants people to boycott Starbucks, but unfortunately for them their boycott targets usually get more business.
Target also received negative publicity for supporting an inequality loving candidate for Minnesota Governor as well, even though Target portrays themselves with a progressive ethos their corporate office sent money to help defeated candidate Tom Emmer which gave them negative press and even Lady Gaga dropped her deal to promote her new album with the chain. They said helping Tom Emmer was because of his economic policies, but maybe Target should of realized they need to raise a crop of legislators who may be pro-corporation, but makes sure not to treat LGBT people as second class citizens.
With the Citizens United decision, it has opened the floodgates for corporate political donations. Since corporations want their outsized influence, the American people deserve to know how our political candidates and causes are being sponsored. We should know who our political candidates are being beholden to or what they stand for. Unfortunately there is another roadblock to transparency.
Donors of a 501(c)4 should have their donations automatically disclosed, just as how it took 4 years to find out that Romney hid his donation for the Proposition 8 donations. Even though it was questionable about leaking the information, the information should be legalized in the future. If a group influences public policy, secrecy is not an option.
Even the Supreme Court stated that signatures for ballot measures are not confidential. Doe v. Reed states that disclosure of signatures on a ballot measure does not violate the first amendment.
If a political candidate wants to restrict your civil rights or ship your job to China, India or Mexico you should be aware of the implications of supporting that candidate for office.