Supreme Court hears arguments challenging California’s donation laws

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case challenging California’s requirement for charities and nonprofits to disclose large donations.

Conservative group Americans for Prosperity Foundation argued the law is a First Amendment violation that could stop donors from giving. The group’s Derek Shaffer said donors would fear harassment or backlash from a potential large donation.

“This demand casts a profound nationwide chill,” he testified Monday. “And, it does so for no good reason, your honor.”

Donor information in California is kept confidential. Three other states and the IRS require the same disclosures.

Liberal groups like the ACLU support the challenge to the law saying the state has had problem with leaks. Moreover, the acting U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued on behalf of California saying the law does not violate free speech.

“Petitioners haven’t shown that disclosures, in the typical case, involving the typical charity, would expose donors to the risk of threat harassment or reprisal,” said Prelogar.

State officials in California said the disclosures are a law enforcement tool and organizations can ask to be exempt. The court is expected to hand down a decision this summer.

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