October 1, 2019
AMICUS BRIEF FILED IN SUPPORT OF AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY IN
AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY FOUNDATION V. XAVIER BECERRA,
THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER V. XAVIER BECERRA,
Nos. 19-291 & 19-255,
On petition for writs of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
California’s donor disclosure law threatens the First Amendment rights of philanthropic donors.
WASHINGTON, DC — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and Philanthropy Roundtable have filed a brief urging the United States Supreme Court to take up the case of Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra (9th Cir. 2018).
In 2013, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a U.S. Senator who is running for president, demanded that nonprofit organizations disclose the names and addresses of all donors who give $5,000 or more in a year.
Americans for Prosperity refused, arguing that the California reporting requirement violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association. The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected that argument on the grounds that “the information is collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure is slight.”
IWF is concerned that California’s law discourages Americans from making philanthropic gifts to organizations that take tough positions on policy issues of the day.
In their time, the Sons of Liberty, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s sufferage movement, and the civil rights movement were all controversial causes. Thankfully, the patriotic Americans who supported these movements financially had the freedom to do so privately and anonymously in order to avoid any social, political, and economic backlash that might have accompanied disclosure of their support.
Jennifer C. Braceras, the director of Independent Women’s Law Center, issued the following statement: “Many Americans who care deeply about public policy and the future of our country do not want to put their reputations, livelihoods, or safety at risk to support unpopular causes. At IWF, we feel strongly that anonymous giving is an important vehicle for encouraging broad-based civic participation.”
Because California’s disclosure law eviscerates donor privacy in a way that threatens philanthropy, IWF and Philanthropy Roundtable urge the Court to accept the case and reaffirm that anonymous giving is protected by the First Amendment..
Read the full brief HERE.
Independent Women's Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.