Free Speech Under Attack
If we are to remain a free people, we need the foundation of the First Amendment. Free Speech guarantees every individual the freedom to express private opinions and beliefs publicly. Without public discourse and the freedom of associations, we will lose the greatest gift from our founding fathers.
For too long, the campaign finance reform movement has categorically demonized any notion of political privacy. As a result, ordinary civic participation is now an act of herculean efforts—requiring accountants, attorneys, and bookkeepers to keep up with lengthy “disclosure” requirements in state and federal campaign finance laws. With a never-ending zeal for disclosure, few reformers consider how many voices have been shut out and how many grassroots coalitions muted in pursuing this lofty goal.
Anonymous speech plays a vital role in preserving all our constitutional freedoms. In so many areas of ordinary life, we accept, even celebrate, anonymity. From online discussion groups to undisclosed press sources, anonymity is important to protect speakers against retaliation and to keep readers focused on messages, not identities. But a current focus on disclosure destroys this freedom.