Nonprofits Lose Donor Confidentiality Decision
A court ruled the Schedule B requirement “is a far cry” from indiscriminate disclosure laws
Requiring nonprofits to file information with state charity regulators about some of their largest donors may turn off some contributors but not enough to warrant a burden on their First Amendment rights.
The ruling yesterday by a three-member panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Pasadena, Calif., reversed an earlier decision by the District Court for the Central District of California. The case brought by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation and Thomas More Law Center has made its way through the California-based courts during the past few years and eventually could be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
“The mere possibility that some contributors may choose to withhold their support does not establish a substantial burden on First Amendment rights,” Judge Raymond C. Fischer wrote in his opinion. The Schedule B requirement “is a far cry” from the broad, indiscriminate disclosure laws passed in the “1950s to harass and intimidate members of unpopular organizations.”
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