U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS will consider challenges to charitable donor disclosure requirements

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to a California requirement for charities to disclose names and addresses of major donors.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider the First Amendment challenge to the requirement by two conservative advocacy groups, report SCOTUSblog, Law360 and press releases here and here.

The California attorney general’s office requires nonprofits that ask for donations in the state to make the disclosure. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the information is already provided to the federal government, but conservative groups say the office has failed to keep confidential records secure in past incidents involving tax documents and charitable information.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Thomas More Law Center contend that the requirement violates their rights of association and anonymous free speech, and courts should use strict scrutiny in reviewing their challenge.

Louis H. Castoria, a partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck in San Francisco, filed and tried the case for the Thomas More Law Center.

“At trial, undisputed evidence proved that forced donor disclosure discourages donors, and that the attorney general’s system for storing highly confidential donor information leaked like a sieve,” Castoria said in a press release. “Free speech can be costly these days. States shouldn’t chill donors’ enthusiasm by subjecting their private information to government scrutiny and the all-too-real risk of public disclosure and retaliation.”

The consolidated cases are Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra and Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra. The SCOTUSblog case pages are here and here.

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