The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Thursday sided with the Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFP) against Acting California Attorney General Matthew Rodriguez in favor of keeping non-profit donor records private, smacking down a measure pushed by Vice President Kamala Harris that conservatives feared could be used to target them.
“The government may regulate in the First Amendment area only with narrow specificity, and compelled disclosure regimes are no exception,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority in a 6-3 decision. “When it comes to a person’s beliefs and associations, broad and sweeping state inquiries into these protected areas discourage citizens from exercising rights protected by the Constitution.”
The Court held that California’s disclosure requirement is invalid because it burdens donors’ First Amendment rights and is not narrowly tailored to an important government interest.
While Vice President Kamala Harris was still Attorney General of California, she sent a letter to AFP in 2013 asking the non-profit to send Schedule B forms to disclose its largest donors. A Schedule B is a highly confidential form that lists the names and addresses of a charity’s major donors—including those who live outside of California, according to the Cato Institute.
AFP declined to send the forms, saying doing so would dissuade people from donating and would violate the First Amendment.
Xavier Becerra took over as Attorney General for Harris, but was soon succeeded by Matthew Rodriguez when he became United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. In the case, Rodriguez alleged that the Attorney General’s Office began asking for Schedule B forms in 2010— in the same way the Internal Revenue Service does — to fight charitable fraud and self-dealing. – READ MORE
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