Count Transparency and the Chamber of Secrets*

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“While once upon a time disclosure reports sat in file cabinets at the Federal Election Commission or in the state capitol, only occasionally perused by interested reporters or political operatives, now the information in these reports is only a few keystrokes away for anyone with an internet connection.”

Seems like a fairy tale ending, at least for those of us interested in an accountable government. But to Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics, it is a nightmare. Count Transparency is the boogeyman from Internetland and he’s coming soon to expose all the politicians and their campaign contributors.

Scary stuff. But our hero, SuperSecret Parnell, has emerged from a smoke filled room with a solution to save the day with this brave plan: “Disclosure requirements should…be modernized to sharply curtail the public availability of all but the most vital information on the private political preferences and activities of citizens.” (Flabbergasted emphasis my own).

SuperSecret is embarking on his noble deed to save that frail and gentle damsel in distress, the Wealthy Donor (cleverly disguised as the demure “Small Business Owner”). To roll back transparency measures, SuperSecret will harness the power of darkness, bringing storm clouds to block out the sunlight. If SuperSecret doesn’t save us from Count Transparency, “Americans will opt to avoid the dangers associated with contributing.” No doubt the less than one-quarter of 1 percent of Americans who made itemized campaign contributions in 2010 will throw roses at the feet of SuperSecret to show their gratitude for his protection.

So thank you, SuperSecret. Thank you for trying to save us all from a cleaner, more accountable government. Thank you for your efforts to insure a less informed electorate. And thank you most of all for using your might to further empower to the wealthiest corporations and individuals to control the levers of our democracy.

*Apologies to J.K. Rowling

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