Anonymous political speech doesn’t endanger nation
by Sean Noble
I firmly believe that anonymous political speech is not a danger to our nation — it has played an important role throughout our history. Anonymity in political speech protects the speaker from retribution, but it also serves a greater good: It allows the public to listen to ideas without any bias toward the messenger.
On Wednesday, The Arizona Republic republished a story about me written entirely by ProPublica, a left-leaning non-profit funded by liberal billionaires like George Soros. ProPublica spent more than 7,000 words painting the activities of my firm and non-profits with which I am involved as criminal.
The ProPublica authors repeatedly use the term “dark money” so as to scandalize the Center to Protect Patient Rights and make legal and compliant activities seem improper. If the money were truly “dark,” these “reporters” and the public would not have broad access to information about the funds granted by CPPR and similar organizations. The public tax records referenced by ProPublica include significant details about organizational details, activities, priorities, and spending.
The truth, while much less intriguing than the tale woven by ProPublica, is that CPPR and the other non-profits mentioned in the article operate in full compliance with the law. Even the authors of the piece admit, “There’s no indication that Noble or the center are under scrutiny by authorities for violating tax or election laws.”
ProPublica hopes to bully CPPR and other conservative groups out of existence because we’ve been effective. Thanks to President Barack Obama’s mismanagement of the country, particularly the failure of “Obamacare,” liberals know they can’t win against us in a fair fight of issues and ideas.
Instead, the left must resort to intimidation. Their tactics include boycotts, threatening businesses, digging through divorce records to personally embarrass and hurt the families of those with whom they disagree, etc. But, before they can employ these methods, they need to know who to target. This is why they demand the disclosure of donors to conservative causes.
The best way for ProPublica and others to make this happen is by launching complaints about the political activities of non-profits. The true purpose of this piece wasn’t to scream for transparency on behalf of American voters. It was to attack me and taint the law-abiding work of all non-profits on the right. After all, if ProPublica really believed voters have a right to know who’s paying for political activity, they’d have the same concern for their readers and not rely so heavily on unnamed “sources.”
I’m accustomed to baseless attacks like the ProPublica piece, but I was stunned when The Arizona Republic republished a story from a partisan organization without contacting me for comment. I have been involved in Arizona politics for two decades.
The Republic is my hometown paper; I’ve interacted with its staff regularly and always held them and the publication in high esteem. I was extremely disappointed by The Arizona Republic’s complete lack of journalistic integrity in this instance. The Republic made itself a willing tool of the left. That is a shame and a real disappointment to this lifelong reader.
The Founders would be appalled at this organized attack on political speech by the media (and the government). Consider this: the Federalist Papers were not only anonymously written, they were anonymously funded! Today, Madison, Jay and Hamilton would be castigated as “dark money.” Good grief!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sean Noble is the president of the Center to Protect Patient Rights and a partner at DC London Inc., a political consulting firm based in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. This article was published in The Arizona Republic.