An image from an advertisement in support of Prop 32, the campaign for which has received major backing from undisclosed sources.
For all you or I know, Satan aka the Prince Darkness aka The Devil aka Mephistopheles aka Beelzebub has given $4 million to support Prop 32.
Do I know this for a fact? No, all I know is that someone or something not disclosing the source of its money has given big to Prop 32. (Even the Sacramento Bee's intrepid Dan Morain couldn't figure out the money's source.)
But is it unfair for me to suggest that Satan is the source?
Not in the least. Such speculation is perfectly appropriate. Even civic minded.
Because when people want to influence your vote in elections, and they won't tell you who they are and where their money comes from, the best strategy is to assume the worst.
There is a big debate going on now in political and legal circles about campaign disclosure. For years, conservatives argued against complex campaign finance limits -- and argued for disclosure. But now, many of those limits have been stripped away, and conservatives are arguing against disclosure.
They may be right. A country with a First Amendment like ours may not be able to demand disclosure of political donors. At least that's what the courts may decide. But that doesn't mean that those who choose not to disclose shouldn't pay a political price. They should.
And the price should be especially high when it comes to ballot initiatives.
In initiatives, voters aren't merely choosing a representative. They are approving legislation themselves -- making new laws, or in some cases, doing something more serious: amending the constitution.
A campaign that accepts secret donations, as Prop 32 did, should be highly suspect. The Devil could even be behind it.