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Dark money, campaign finance and full disclosure

By Scott Tibbs, November 18, 2013

I almost never agree with the New York Times when they editorialize about campaign finance reform, because their position leans toward more restrictions on free speech. However, their concern about "dark money" and their call for stronger reporting requirements is one area where I agree with them wholeheartedly.

It is the public's interest to have all campaign donations and expenditures be part of the public record. There is no more effective weapon against corruption than sunshine, and when campaign finances are fully disclosed we can see who our elected officials may be beholden to - and what interest groups may influence candidates who are seeking office.

While some may have privacy concerns about making such things public, those concerns are overshadowed by the compelling state interest of preventing corruption as well as the public's interest in making a fully informed decision when they vote for candidates for elective office. Because of the power government officials hold, full disclosure of who is spending money is very important.

This is one area where we should have bipartisan agreement. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives should quickly move on legislation requiring full disclosure of all campaign contributions and expenditures - from political action committees, so-called "527" groups, political parties, candidates for office and even private individuals. If they do not like the "Disclose" act, they should come up with an alternative in time for the 2014 elections.