Anonymous donors

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Here we go again. Remember last fall when big super PACs were funded by anonymous millionaire and billionaire donors and ran ads to try to influence voters? Well, they're doing it again.

Americans for a Strong Defense is one of several new conservative groups financed by anonymous donors and running ads urging Democratic senators to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense.

Another, Use Your Mandate, presents itself as a liberal gay-rights group, but curiously, it purchases its TV time through a prominent Republican firm to attack Hagel in ads and mailings as "anti-gay," "anti-woman" and "anti-Israel." Such underhanded deception stinks, and we should be able to know who's behind it.

I'm not against rich people spending money to express their opinions. But it's unhealthy for our democracy for these donors to be anonymous. Congress should require that donors and their donation amounts be public information.

It's a simple idea, and that Republicans block such bills tells a lot about their views of our system. They're fine with secret deals with fat cats, the people be damned.

I wish Sen. Orrin Hatch would cross over the aisle and support a good-government bill like this.

Brian Roberts