May 12, 2012 9:42 PM GMT
Expect turnabout. Payback is a ...
As Ms. Strassel has reported in recent columns, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot has become the target of a smear campaign since it was disclosed earlier this year that he had donated $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney. President Obama's campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight "less than reputable" Romney donors and a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement." One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.
Now we learn that little more than a week after that Presidential posting, a former Democratic Senate staffer called the courthouse in Mr. VanderSloot's home town of Idaho Falls seeking his divorce records. Ms. Strassel traced the operative, Michael Wolf, to a Washington, D.C. outfit called Fusion GPS that says it is "a commercial research firm." [...]
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.
Democrats and their left-wing allies should understand that Republicans and Mormons will not be the only targets. If Democrats think it is "legitimate" to prowl and publish the divorce records of Romney donors, no one should feign shock if some right-wing investigator is soon doing the same to Mr. Obama's bundlers and super PAC donors. A President who claims to want "civility" in political discourse will reap what he sows if he plays by Nixonian rules.