[Note: This is part of a series.]

I’ve suggestedbefore that the so-called “property rights” initiatives in the Northwest are not exactly a grassroots movement. They’re ordered and funded by reclusive networks of donors and directors, many from back east, who prize their anonymity. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad policy. But it deserves, I think, the skeptical arch of an eyebrow.

Enter a fascinating bit of investigative journalism from… Nebraska (free registration req’d). The Omaha World-Herald attempts to unravel the tangle of front groups and psuedonymous funders behind a proposed amendment to Nebraska’s constitution. That task leads the reporters to at least 9 states and a welter of organizations, many of whom are also behind the property initiatives in California, Idaho, Montana, and Washington.

You’ve got to read the article (and accompanying flow chart) to really get the gist of the tangled web. It’s a bit like reading Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. You’ll be scratching your head and re-reading it if you want to make any sense of why a New York developer is heading up three different organizations that dump money another organization that is in turn funding initiatives in places like Nebraska and California.

Why all the secrecy? And shouldn’t voters have a right to know who, exactly, is funding ballot initiatives in their states?

Anyway, the World-Herald article is helpful, but it’s much too short to do justice to its subject matter. Over at the Boregasm blog you can find more than enough well-research investigation to make your head spin. Personally, I’m about ready to put on a tinfoil hat and start muttering about who really shot JFK.