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Three Can Keep a Secret, If Two of Them Are Dead: A Thought Experiment Around Compelled Public Disclosure of "Anonymous" Political Expenditures

July 1, 2012, University of Virginia Journal of Law & Politics, Volume 27:609-625, 2012
Excerpt taken from the article.

"Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." Variously attributed to Benjamin Franklin and the Hell's Angels, this aphorism captures an important concern posed by the recent upswing in "anonymous" political activity. In short, much of it is not actually anonymous.

This essay explores one possibility for fundamentally changing the existing disclosure regime around political expenditures. Specifically, it considers the application of a potential new disclosure regime that seeks to strike a better balance between, on the one hand, the First Amendment interest in political expression, including genuinely anonymous political expression, and on the other the public interest in protecting our system of government from the dangers of corruption and undue influence threatened by opaque, private leverage over public officials.

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