So, Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of Democratic Presidential candidate, Julian Castro, is getting criticized for tweeting out the names and employers of Trump donors in San Antonio. Joaquin Castro is a member of Congress who represents a district in the House of Representatives that includes San Antonio. He’s also the chairman of Julian Castro’s campaign for President. Despite the criticism, predictably from Republicans, Joaquin Castro is standing by the tweet.
I think I’m with the Castros here. The information he provided is publicly available in the FEC database of political donations. He provided names and employers, but no other personal information in his tweet. Seems to me that is the point of the law and the database. These donors know in advance that their information is going into the database and that the information will be available to the public. Having a little bit of sunlight into the issue of money in politics is a good thing.
And, I encourage everybody to go and give the database a whirl. By using the database, I was able to find the 71 separate donations from people in my zip code (it looks like some people are in the results multiple times for multiple separate donations). The time period for the search was for 2019. Interested to see the results? I was. Joe Biden got, one, count’em, one donation in that period. It was the only donation in my zip code for the maximum allowed for an individual donation – $2800. Bernie got four donations. Warren got 28 donations and Trump got 38, but they both had multiple donations from the same people. Read into the numbers what you will.
Now I’m not going list the names of the Trump donors in my zip code. Heck, they’d probably be quite happy for everyone to know they donated to Trump’s campaign since this state is awash with Trump voters. But maybe the one person who donated to Biden at the max amount wouldn’t want that info out around here. Does this openness drive the money into PACs where donors don’t have their names disclosed? I don’t know, maybe. But then again those people who don’t want their donations known are probably already doing that. I figure, if you support a candidate, then you should be OK with people knowing you’re giving that campaign money. And if you don’t want people to know you gave money to Trump for his reelection, then don’t give him money. I say this public database is the least we can do and I support the Castros, if for nothing else, that they’re bringing our attention to this.