And yet this isn’t the first time that campaign contribution data has been used to punish private individuals for their political donations. Former Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign in 2014 after it was revealed that he gave $1,000 in support of a 2008 ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California.
The ability to punish people for supporting or opposing particular political campaigns is one reason a lot of libertarians oppose making political donations public.
“Given all the death threats, risks to family members, calls for people to be fired, and personal relationships strained by politics, the value of political anonymity is higher today than at any time since the McCarthy era,” wrote Brad Smith of the Institute for Free Speech, a group that opposes many disclosure requirements, in an April National Review article. “Requiring people to choose between participation in the political process and a private personal life will lead to a situation where the only ideas in the public square will be those deemed acceptable by the prevailing political majority.”