Last week, Congressman Joaquin Castro, brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro, released the names of people who contributed to Donald Trump’s campaign. Critics screamed that Castro was “doxing” Trump supporters. The Civitas Institute says Castro is trying to shame them by releasing their “private” information. Really, though, it’s transparency, regardless of whether they like Castro’s methods or not.
To clarify, doxing is the process of uncovering and publishing private information or outing people who post anonymously on the internet. The information Castro used was public. Nobody can donate money anonymously to political campaigns. So Castro didn’t dox anybody.
Relatedly, if you can be shamed for giving money to somebody, don’t give them money. I’ve been donating to campaigns most of my adult life. I’ve never been embarrassed about a donation. The fact that Trump supporters can be shamed for donating to him says a whole lot about his presidency.
I believe we need more information about political donors, not less. One of the greatest threats to our democracy right now is the proliferation of dark money groups influencing our campaigns. I believe that everybody who gives to an organization that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot initiative should be known. I’m more concerned that too few people know about the FEC website or how to use it.
Castro definitely thought he would embarrass some of Trump’s supporters. Maybe that’s a bit meanspirited but politics today is not for wimps. And as I said, if you’re not comfortable with your donations, don’t make them.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >