Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom said that the mandatory disclosure of names and addresses of donors to nonprofits can lead to harassment and even, such as in a case filed with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday (Feb. 22), an assassination attempt. ADF filed the first brief defending a Michigan-based nonprofit, stating that donors and their names and addresses should be kept confidential.
“Every American should be free to support causes they believe in without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “As our brief to the Supreme Court explains, California leaks confidential records like a sieve. That makes mandatory disclosure of sensitive information especially dangerous for donors and employees of nonprofits like Thomas More Law Center, who have faced intimidation, death threats, hate mail, boycotts, and even an assassination attempt from people who don’t agree with them. Given that the California Attorney General’s office hardly ever uses supporter information for any purpose, there’s simply no justification for forcing charities to put themselves and their supporters at risk by forcing the disclosure of donor names and addresses.”
ADF attorneys representing the nonprofit filed their brief with SCOTUS since it agreed to hear the case Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra. The high court agreed to hear the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that Thomas More Law Center—and all other nonprofits who solicit donations in California—must disclose the names and addresses of major donors to the California attorney general on an annual basis.
The 9th Circuit’s ruling reversed a district court’s decision following a trial, which found that the California attorney general’s office has no compelling need for the information. In addition, the office publicly exposed confidential donor information on the internet and created a perfect target for hackers by uploading thousands of confidential documents to the cloud, where they were easily discovered.
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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Alex Murashko