If Mr. Simpson and Democrats really favor disclosure, then surely Mr. Simpson should disclose who is paying him to rummage through the personal lives of opposition donors. Someone should also ask the White House, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee if Mr. Simpson’s chop shop is on their payroll and if they approve of such tactics. Does Mr. Obama think the lifestyles and divorce records of campaign donors should be fair political game?…

All of this is also a reason to reconsider rules that require the disclosure of political donations. This sounds appealing in theory, the Supreme Court has ruled that disclosure is Constitutional, and these columns have supported it as part of a political compromise that would allow unlimited donations.

But it’s increasingly clear that the real point of these disclosure laws is not to inform voters but to get donor names in order to intimidate them from participating in politics. The goal is to dispatch hired guns like Mr. Simpson on political opponents to trash their reputations.