SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – California Attorney General Edmund Brown on Thursday filed in opposition to a preliminary ruling that would hide the identities of campaign contributors in favor of the Prop 8 gay marriage ban.
According to the Attorney General’s brief, which was filed in federal court on Thursday, supporters of Proposition 8 do not meet the criteria for exemption from campaign disclosure laws. The exemption was developed by the Supreme Court in an effort to protect minority groups who have been persecuted in the past for openly expressing their political views.
The exemption has applied to groups such as the Socialist Workers Party in Ohio and the NAACP. These groups both demonstrated that disclosure of their identities would result in harm and would jeopardize the goals of the organizations.
The Attorney General alleges that donors in support of Prop 8 are well-financed and have raised nearly $30 million in contributions and the ballot measure received 52.3 percent of the vote.
The Attorney General argues that the campaign donors have not shown that disclosure of their identities would be a detriment to their political pursuits. Attorney Brown also says that granting donors such exemption would shield them from post-election reporting requirements and this would interfere with political democracy’s demand for open debate.
Such requirements are implemented to help prevent kickbacks, laundering, and other improper uses of campaign funds.
According to the Attorney General the public interest is better served through disclosure which leads to more speech, not less. Said Brown, “Backers of Proposition 8 should not be allowed to carve out a special privilege of anonymity for themselves alone.”