How the Left Killed the “Stop Dark Money” Initiative

Aaron Flint posted on August 28, 2014 13:09 :: 1339 Views

Is free speech back in style? Or, was it just a misguided effort to crack down on anonymous political speech?  Either way, The Missoula Independent reports on a stunning admission– how the left killed a “Stop Dark Money” ballot initiative. It’s not stunning in the sense that they did it, it’s merely stunning that they admitted to it. 

But efforts to shed light on dark money have fallen flat. During the state’s most recent legislative session, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and Republican state Sen. Jim Peterson, a rancher from Buffalo, collaborated on the proposed Trace Act, which would have closed some disclosure loopholes. It died in committee without fanfare. Peterson and a small band of Republicans then vowed to take the fight directly to voters with Initiative 168, but they abandoned the campaign in June, saying they couldn’t raise enough money to collect signatures statewide.

One of the people Peterson looked to for support was C.B. Pearson, a veteran organizer of ballot initiative campaigns. Pearson spearheaded the 2012 “corporate personhood” ballot measure, which passed with 75 percent approval in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. But Pearson says he couldn’t support the Stop Dark Money initiative and agreed with Motl, saying the inclusion of all nonprofits would have forced disclosure on the League of Women Voters and other groups that encourage voting, but refrain from endorsing candidates or ballot issues.

“I just don’t think you can regulate that,” Pearson says. “There’s a right to participate.”

The Indy also noted that the left wing Missoula-based Forward Montana would also have been covered by the proposed ballot initiative.

So there you have it- the left openly admits that they wanted to protect their own anonymous political speech, all the while silencing the protected, anonymous political speech of others.  What would the left have to fear if their donors are exposed anyway?  As we’ve seen with the recent IRS targeting of Christian, Jewish, and conservative groups- liberals have no fear of being politically targeted for expressing their beliefs or donating to causes they believe in.  Small business owners and others who actually pay the bills and the taxes and the paychecks do; however, have reason to fear being targeted for their beliefs.  The recent IRS targeting alone should be reason enough to uphold the Constitutional protections for anonymous speech.  


Dave Skinner

Monday, September 01, 2014 9:23 PM

Love the irony. The guy, or GUYS, that have done the most to twist the campaign finance game in their favor, former professional and probably future partners — oh, noes!

However, I remain convinced that disclosure by all parties in elections is a necessary solution. The 501c3 scam of “social welfare” with the associated tax breaks for blatantly political activity, is a cancer on our republic.

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