Should Campaign Donors Be Identified?
7 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2001
In the campaign finance debate, the only proposed measure that enjoys broad support is a requirement that all candidates disclose their contributors' identities. However, such disclosure would probably do little to deter quid pro quo corruption; instances of donation-induced "influence" (i.e., "face time") that could be proven under such a regime are legal, and voters have taken little interest in them historically, while vote-buying and other illegal actions would not be proven by the disclosures.
A better approach may be a regime of contributor anonymity in which donors must funnel their contributions to campaigns through blind trusts. Such a regime would deprive the candidate of a vital piece of knowledge that enables corruption: the knowledge that a supposed donor actually fulfilled his promise to contribute a large amount of money. What is more, such a regime would be less restrictive on donors' free speech rights and their "right to spend."
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