Two years ago the Supreme Court upheld the right of an incorporated nonprofit organization to d istribute, air and advertise a turgid documentary about Hillary Clinton called, appropriately enough, "Hillary: The Movie." From this seemingly innocuous and obvious First Amendment decision has sprung a campaign of disinformation and alarmism rarely seen in American politics.
Super PACs have become the latest villain du jour of the anti-speech crowd, which plays off the general public distaste for the political rancor that surfaces every election year. Critics including Mr. Sanders say that Super PACs don't disclose their donors and rely on "secret" money. This is simply not true. Super PACs, like the traditional political action committees that have existed for decades, disclose all expenditures and all donors over $200.
There are organizations that spend on politics but don't disclose their donors: traditional nonprofits such as the NAACP, the NRA and Public Citizen. These groups have never had to disclose their donors—and the Supreme Court, over 50 years ago, upheld their right to keep supporters anonymous. But reformers intentionally seek to blur the lines between these traditional groups and Super PACs in order to whip up criticism of Citizens United.
The goal of this misinformation is clear. Reformers, who sit mainly on the political left, and their Democratic Party allies hope to silence voices that they perceive to be hostile to their political interests.
Two years after Citizens United, Amer ican democracy seems as robust as ever. This may be what its critics fear most—a vibrant debate that they cannot control and fear they will lose.