In the News: The Hill: Disclosure’s unintended consequences

The Hill: Disclosure’s unintended consequences

By Eric Wang

And how might Ms. Paz’s tormenters have located her? While a simple Google search may not suffice, one need not resort to expensive database services or NSA surveillance. Rather, the Federal Election Commission’s campaign finance disclosure website reveals individuals’ addresses, occupations, and employers within seconds, including information for Paz, who gave $2,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

This would certainly not be the first time FEC data has been misused in such manner. In 2007, Gigi Brienza recounted in harrowing detail in the Washington Post how she was threatened by animal rights extremists. She was not targeted for donating to the John Edwards and Ralph Nader presidential campaigns; rather, the FBI determined that it was because FEC reports listed her employer as Bristol-Myers Squibb, which conducts animal testing.

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.