We Need Donor-Privacy Legislation Now

Representative Joaquin Castro speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., in 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)Joaquin Castro’s irresponsible doxing remind us: Politicians should not have access to the names, addresses, and employers of their political opponents.

In deciding to tweet out the names and occupations of max-level donors to the Trump campaign, Representative Joaquin Castro (D., Texas), the brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, simply made the dangerous logic of our modern campaign-finance laws more explicit.

The donors singled out by Representative Castro are mostly ordinary people — realtors, retirees, store owners, the owner of a barbecue restaurant. These private citizens were singled out by Castro, who accused them of “fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders.” Set aside the truth value of the statement, which predictably and dishonestly ignores the difference between legal and illegal immigration, Castro’s ability to harass random donors to his political opponents is not a bug of our current campaign-finance laws but a feature. We can fix that “feature” only if America reforms its donor-privacy laws.

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The 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act force every candidate for public office to publicly disclose not

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