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SCOTUS Hears Arguments for Donor Privacy Protection Case

The Court Must Uphold First Amendment Rights

(Alexandria, VA) – April 26, 2021: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing oral arguments in the cases of Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra and Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra. The central issue in the case is the constitutionality of California’s requirement that tax exempt charities disclose their financial donors. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a merits brief in support of Americans for Prosperity and the Thomas More Law Center.

The brief outlines the importance anonymity has played throughout American history starting with our revolutionary and founding documents including the Federalist papers. Mandated disclosure hampers First Amendment rights of freedom of association. State governments should not have the power to demand lists of supporters of groups in the public square. Individuals must be free to give anonymously and without fear of retribution from those with opposing viewpoints.

The brief details six examples in recent history of efforts to disclose donor information in order to engage in personal attacks. More information on the examples is below.

Additionally, donor disclosure is also used to engage in personal attacks in the election context. The brief delves into five recent examples. More information is below.

“We hope that in hearing these arguments today, the justices recognize that disclosure of donors for controversial issues will have a severe chilling effect on free speech and association rights,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams. “Disclosing donor information will put these donors at risk and will cause many to face threats and acts of retaliation from opposing groups. It is critical that the Court strike down this California law.”

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.