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Quote of the Day: Questioning Disclosure

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 9 2010

Disclosure as a regulatory tool in political finance will not soon come under extensive re-consideration. Its virtues are largely unquestioned, except in the rare case where identifiable minority interests are plainly, foreseeably at risk. But it is useful to reflect from time to time on the facile acceptance of disclosure without any sensitivity to the costs for those whose political preferences, expressed perhaps with only a handful of dollars, are exposed to the wired world, along with precise information about where they live or work. 'Downsides', for sure.

-- Back in 2008, now White House counsel Bob Bauer reflected upon the wisdom of radical transparency, riffing off of a Prop 8-inspired Wall Street Journal piece titled "Donor Disclosure Has Its Downsides." Why that's relevant: Bauer is rumored to will be taking over Norm Eisen's role as White House ethics watchdog, a role that, during Eisen's tenure, has come to involve an embrace of transparency as central to the Obama approach to rethinking government.