What It Means To You. Your right to speak anonymously without fear of reprisal or retaliation from enemies or opponents has just been compromised.
However, there are potential First Amendment violations as this new policy could potentially reach all speech, By compelling contributor disclosure on potentially any speech -- because all speech could conceivably touch some "political" issue and hence relate to a candidate's or opponent's campaign -- the FEC policy could become the latest step towards the loss of your right to speak anonymously.
Targeting Anonymous Political Donors Making Unlimited Independent Expenditures. It is obvious that independent expenditure, unlimited expenditure 501(c)(4) organizations are the target. However, those groups are under the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service. It just so happens that earlier this week, the IRS' Exempt Organizations Director, Lois Lerner, indicated that the IRS would soon issue revised policies specifically governing and restricting the tax-exempt eligibility of 501(c)(4) groups engaging in substantial political activities. It was a bit of a surprise to see the first restriction targeting 501(c)(4) groups come from the FEC, whose advisory advisory does not specifically mention 501(c)(4) organizations. These groups have recently been the primary means for circumventing the FEC's total disclosure policy which covers candidates, candidate committees and political party groups. It raises a question as to the FEC's jurisdiction under the Federal Election Commission Act, and whether this apparent widening of the FEC's reach to independent expenditure groups -- which are not candidate or party committees -- can withstand court challenge.