Compulsory Donor Disclosure: When Government Monitors Its Citizens

The right of every American to support causes in which he or she believes is under attack through compulsory disclosure laws. These excessive disclosure laws do more harm than good and violate Americans’ fundamental rights to free political speech, association, and privacy. Anti–First Amendment activists and many misled Americans see these laws as a positive effort to “shine a light” on groups and individuals who are speaking out during campaigns. The reality is starkly different: Disclosure, particularly the compulsory disclosure of donors to causes and candidates, has failed. Vocal calls for more disclosure are not calls for transparency and good governance—despite their proponents’ arguments to the contrary. Rather, such attempts seek to increase the size and power of government while enabling activists to harass those with whom they disagree.

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