Steve - The whole thing is a crock, and the problems aren't technical.
None of the proposed users of the system have any desire to use it,
except perhaps as a front for other activities,
and the people who'd want them to make them use it are just meddlers.

It's funny how any time you bring up the First Amendment
in the context of tobacco advertising or internet pornography,
they say "Oh, no, it's not about that, it's about *political* speech",
but if you bring it up in the context of actual political speech,
well then, oh, no, the First Amendment is about not arresting
ranters on soapboxes in the park, or letting people print newspapers
as long as there's official identifying information about the printer,
but it's *certainly* not about actually letting people fund *electoral*
speech, because elections are *way* too important to let unapproved
members of the *public* influence the outcomes....

The couple of papers that Michael Froomkin referenced are
pretty much the canonical references to the approach you're talking about,
but just because there are academics proposing it doesn't mean
it isn't still a total crock.

Now, if you're talking about *real* campaign finance reform,
as in permitting people to engage in free speech even if it requires
money to transmit that speech to their intended recipients,
fully anonymous digital cash is useful for that, in the obvious ways,
and payer-anonymous payee-disclosing digital cash has its uses as well,
if you like to be able to trace the people you're paying,
and anonymous and pseudonymous publishing are also obviously useful,
and then of course there's Blacknet if you want the real info on candidates.

You don't need 100% technical guarantees of anonymity for most political work; the public can usually guess that "Paid for by Californians for Motherhood and Apple Pie" is probably the prison guards' union, or the major opponent of the candidate that the negative TV ad was about, or whatever,
but unless there's a lawsuit or actual investigative reporter, nobody's going to bother tracking them down.


Unfortunately, softmoney.com got snapped up a few years ago;
I'd been planning to set it up as a site for donating your two cents to
John McCain, when he was ranting about banning it.

"paid for by Californians Against Bogus Campaign Financing Regulations,
John Doe #238, Treasurer"



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