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After two mass murders, one from a white supremacist and another by an Antifa fan, you’d expect politicians from both sides to ease up on the rhetoric. Instead, they’re fanning the flames. Tuesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D–TX) outed constituents who dared give money to Donald Trump.
Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’ pic.twitter.com/YT85IBF19u
— Joaquin Castro (@Castro4Congress) August 6, 2019
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” the Congressman tweeted, including information on 44 donors and their workplaces. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.'”
Castro, the twin brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, earned support from many other Democrats, pundits, and journalists. Squadmember Rashida Talib (D–MI) endorsed the near-doxxing because “[t]he public needs to know who funds racism.” This, after years insisting any criticism threatens her safety.
Chairman Castro, They don't like it when you name their donors. The public needs to know who funds racism. https://t.co/7qfg1RT79y
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 7, 2019
Castro insists that it’s all public information and in no way promotes harassment, even as he smeared certain San Antonio businesses.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 7, 2019
Public listings of political donations were created to minimize corruption, allowing voters to know which fatcats were funding which candidates. Today, the left regularly weaponizes this data against average Americans, outing retirees and homemakers alongside major corporations.
We’ve long respected the sanctity of secret ballots. With partisan violence on the increase, it’s time we did the same for political donations.
The left loathes private donations, labeling them “dark money” and pushing laws to expose smaller and smaller contributors. No doubt many progressives are worried about corruption but a growing number simply want to harass those who disagree.
This trend emerged in 2014 when Brendan Eich was forced to resign from the tech company he founded because he gave $1,000 to a campaign opposing same-sex marriage. California voters agreed with Eich, but that didn’t matter. He had to go.
Around this time, Democrats in Wisconsin secretly investigated supporters of Gov. Scott Walker, gathering more than a million emails, issuing 29 subpoenas, and placing a gag order on their victims. The state supreme court eventually shut down the star chamber, but not before political activists were punished for exercising their constitutional rights.
The chief argument of “dirty money” opponents is the claim that money buys elections. To disprove this, one needs only to look at the 2016 presidential race. Clinton outspent Trump nearly 2 to 1. If you include allied organizations, Democratic groups still significantly outspent Republican ones. Nevertheless, Trump prevailed.
The very terms “dark money” and “dirty money” portray private donations as inherently bad. Yet in this era of mob justice and personal retribution, privacy is critical for anyone seeking to engage in the political process. Forcing contributors to go public increasingly chills involvement.
Would an up-and-coming lawyer working at a conservative firm want to give money to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood if she knows her political views will be outed to the partners? Would a restaurateur in a liberal community risk donating to the NRA or a traditional religious organization?
We only need to see the pressure campaigns against Chick-fil-A to answer that question.
In a 1995 decision on political speech, liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.” He was exactly right.
Until privacy is guaranteed by the courts, Castro, Tlaib, et al., need to stop targeting their fellow Americans. After a weekend of massacres, politicians and pundits should be pouring cold water on the fire instead of kerosene.