I’m just spitballing here, but anybody who donates a few hundred bucks to a Presidential candidate: 1.) poses no risk of bribing them (after all, Rick Perry has informed us his price is far north of $5,000) and 2.) doesn’t need a retaliatory landlord or her unreasonable boss to know about the donation (“Paula gave to Thaddeus McCotter? How embarrassing.”). Unfortunately, Congress seems to disagree, and as a result, such a donation gets your name and address posted on the Interwebs.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court has protected the right of donors to really unpopular causes from being exposed to the harsh glare of public scrutiny. (Again, the McCotter donation does not count.)
Let’s say that we have an organization that is so unpopular and controversial, that the mere association of an individual with that group is enough to earn “threats, harassment, and reprisal” from members of the general public or from the government itself. Since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, these groups have been shielded from all government mandates that they disclose their donors. Most case law supporting this constitutional principle focuses on the ever unpopular socialists, such as the Ohio Socialist Workers’ Party, a group which was hilariously infiltrated so thoroughly by the FBI that several Socialist Workers’ candidates for office were actually spies.