Different Realms of Disclosure

August 26, 2013
posted by Bob Bauer
Organizations required to register and report under New York’s new lobbying disclosure laws have begun to seek exemptions to protect their donors from anticipated reprisal or harassment. This concern for donor privacy was once most prevalent among conservative critics of political regulation, more on the “right” than on the “left,” or at least its articulation there has been most prominent. It was also once primarily an issue in campaign finance disclosure. See, e.g., Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 71, 74; Brown v. Socialist Workers, 459 U.S. 87 (1982). It seems, however, that the argument is finding favor across the political spectrum and has spread to the regulation of lobbying. Putting aside particular cases and their merits, it is a development with much to suggest about the confused state of mandatory disclosure policy.