Socialist Workers, Unite! (In Anonymity, Of Course)

In her bid against District 2 incumbant Marc Sarnoff, Socialist Workers Party candidate Ellen Brickley has some catching up to do financially. According to a report filed by her campaign treasurer, the insurgent has so far raised a total of $135, plus $65 in loans. After paying the $100 filing fee, that leaves her office with about hundred bucks to play with. (By comparison, since July, Sarnoff has raised more than $200,000.) But money isn't everything - when it comes to winning elections, underdog candidates have to believe that public grassroots support can trump raw buckage.

But Brickley's support - six individuals have donated to her campaign - isn't exactly public. While every other candidate running for office in Miami is required to disclose the name of any individuals or businesses that have donated to their campaign, Brickley's campaign finance reports don't list a single name. Instead, contibutors are listed as "Contributor 1," "Contributor 2," etc.

It's a socialist thing. It turns out that the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) first won the right to withhold names from campaign contribution reports after the Supreme Court approved in 1979 a consent decree which said that making their names public would subject members of the SWP to "threats, harassment, or reprisals from either government officials or private parties." In 1985, the City Clerk of Miami sued the SWP for not disclosing the names, and lost that suit on appeal. Brickley's mysterious suporters, it seems, can remain anonymous with impunity.

"For that particular candidate, that's okay," affirms Dwight Danie, Miami elections coordinator. "Because she's a member of the Socialist Workers Party. If she had not declared herself that, it's not acceptable." --Isaiah Thompson

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