- (Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea)
The forced resignation last week of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla came the same week as an important Supreme Court campaign finance decision. These two seemingly unrelated stories have a connection. While increased disclosure could bring greater transparency of campaign finances, some liberals have shown that transparency would be used for harassment and intimidation, rather than an open dialogue.
Last week, the Supreme Court struck down the overall cap on donations to political campaigns. Leaving in place limits on how much individuals can give to candidates and parties, the court said that the cap on how much individuals can give in total to candidates and parties in an election cycle was a freedom of speech violation.
In the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts suggested that laws requiring candidates and parties to disclose where their political donations are coming from would be a preferable tool for exposing political corruption than limits on giving to campaigns.
"Disclosure requirements may burden speech," he wrote, "but they often represent a less restrictive alternative to flat bans on certain types or quantities of speech. Particularly with modern technology, disclosure now offers more robust protections against corruption ...."
Disclosure requirements, though, are what led to the forced resignation of Eich. Eich donated $1,000 to a 2008 political campaign in support of defining marriage as between one man and one woman in California. Eich's donation was later published by The Los Angeles Times. Because of that donation, activist groups led a campaign to get him ousted from the company.
If liberals are going to behave like that, forcing people out of their jobs because they support conservative causes, some conservatives are asking, why support disclosure of political donations?
"This case is an example of why some of us who used to be for full disclosure [in campaign finance] no longer are," conservative columnist George Will explained Friday on Fox News' "Special Report." "The people advocating full disclosure of campaign contributions say, 'we just want voters to be able to make an informed choice.' That's not what they they're doing at all. They really want to enable themselves to mount punitive campaigns and to terror people and to chill political speech."
In a Friday conversation with The Christian Post, Joseph Grabowski, director of communications for the National Organization for Marriage, confirmed that the Mozilla incident was not the first time that donors supporting traditional marriage have been harassed or injured for that donation.
The Mozilla incident, he said, "is evidence of why donor names that are confidential should be kept confidential ... it is the same-sex marriage lobby's way to use harassment and intimidation to try and get people not to donate to [pro-traditional marriage] causes."
"There's something counterintuitive," Grabowski continued, with liberals calling for more disclosure in campaign finance and "saying they want more free and open discourse."
"This is not free and open discourse, when the reaction to people using their First Amendment rights to stand up and support an issue is that they are going to be bullied and targeted in fear of losing their jobs and all kinds of other things," he said.