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Even outside the election context, the problems with such coordination become clear in light of recent reports that the 501(c)(4) “Organizing for America” — which is closely aligned with the Obama administration — has solicited donations from individuals who have affairs before the White House.

CMD’s research has ruffled some feathers. In one court filing, Wisconsin Club for Growth even twisted quotes from CMD’s executive director, Lisa Graves, to falsely claim she said liberal groups did the same thing as Club for Growth in the recalls, but that only conservative groups should be investigated.

CMD has taken issue with groups that run TV ads to influence elections without disclosing their donors. We reject the effort to wrap themselves in the mantle of the Supreme Court’s protection of the NAACP membership list from Alabama white supremacists in the 1960s.

There are long-standing protections for anonymous giving to groups engaged in charitable work that should not apply to individuals or groups running political ads that attack or praise a candidate in an election.

Democracy is warped and the political system tilted by secret, unlimited electoral spending, no matter the political party.

News outlets, whether they be left or right, particularly have the responsibility to pull back the curtain and demand that those who are trying to buy our vote and influence our politicians come out of the shadows and be honest about their intentions.

We agree with Justice Antonin Scalia, who said, “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.”

Brendan M Fischer is general counsel for the Center for Media and Democracy.