The concept of disclosure seems to be a simple one: If you shine more light on a given topic then the “true” issues will be exposed. This is a rather cynical way of looking at things — as if everything government does is corrupt.

Nevertheless, the public is very cynical and government has historically been described as an inept body corrupted by the whim and will of the minority (in this case, special interests).

As I said in my first post, I am not against more sunshine. What I do support is equitable treatment. For whatever reason, certain groups believe they have a moral imperative to defend whatever it is they are defending against (or “for” in very limited cases) and as such, should be exempt from such disclosure.

Unfortunately, these groups wield an enormous amount of clout, be they labor, environmental or other NPOs (not for profits) and have sophisticated machines behind them to back their play.

These groups require the absolute same amount of scrutiny as the private for-profit sector because their intentions, being self described as benevolent and in the public interest, do harm other parties — and, their means are no different than what they think the “evil, greedy” lobbyists do: namely, threaten the elected official’s livelihood at election time by mobilizing their members in opposition (or support) or using their campaign coffers to independently influence campaign outcomes.

It should be noted that this independent effort comes WITHOUT the same kind of sunshine these election do-gooders would require or me any of my people.

To address one commenter’s idea: disclosing the calendars of all officials seems like a good idea on its surface, what’s the motive???  To “prove” that some elected official did the bidding of the “other side?”

It’s similar to requiring lobbyists to disclose all money they may have raised at a given event for a city official. Setting aside the administrative and enforcement nightmare this proposal would create, the target is absolutely wrong — the key officials to “worry” about are the elected officials who are the decision makers. These are the folks truly pulling the levers of power and the ones who should be tasked with additional disclosure if the public feels it’s warranted.

When it comes to the money side of this cynical equation, the bottom line is this, if you want more sunshine, and people want to know who raised what for whom, then all independent political action activities by these so-called public interest groups should be attached to the same decisions and actions by the public bodies these groups and their “volunteers” have influenced.

— CRAIG BENEDETTO

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.