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Supreme Court Removes California Donor Disclosure Rule

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a California ordinance requiring nonprofits to give their donors to state officials was unconstitutional.

The court sided with two conservative groups who questioned the disclosure requirement in a 6: 3 division according to ideological lines.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and ruled that disclosure requirements have a deterrent effect on donors’ additional rights.

We must conclude that the Attorney General’s disclosure requirement is a widespread burden on donors’ association rights, “wrote Robert’s interest in administrative convenience is sufficiently important.”

The rule requires tax-exempt charities to disclose donors to the California Attorney General, but prohibits their public disclosure.

The three judges on the liberal wing of the court disagreed, arguing that the majority were wrong when they found the regulation was invading donors’ privacy.

“Today’s analysis marks the reporting and disclosure requirements with a direct hit,” Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia Sotomayor Senate Panel Votes Women To Register For The Draft No Reason To Grab The Court Supreme Court Ruling Opens The Door To More Campaign Funding Challenges MORE wrote in contradiction. “Regulated entities wishing to evade their obligations can do so by vaguely pointing out the ‘privacy concerns’ of the First Amendment. It does not matter whether not a single person runs the risk of suffering a single reprisal through disclosure, or whether the vast majority of those affected would like to comply. “

“Neither precedent nor common sense support such an outcome,” she added.

Thursday’s ruling was based on two legal challenges filed by the conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) and the Thomas More Law Center.

“Today’s decision protects Americans from having to choose whether to stay safe or speak out,” said Emily Seidel, chief executive of the AFPF, in a statement. “The ability to maintain privacy enables people to unite in matters and movements.”

Since the regulation did not require public disclosure, it is not immediately clear what impact the decision will have on campaign funding transparency efforts.

The conservative majority was divided over which level of control courts should apply to the disclosure requirements of donors. Justice is in agreement Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasAn obscure Supreme Court ruling is a cautionary story about the state’s overnight healthcare power: St. Louis reinstates the mask mandate Florida Calls on Supreme Court to Block CDC Restrictions on Cruise Industry Florida Calls on Supreme Court to Block CDC Restrictions on Cruise Industry MORE argued that such regulations require strict scrutiny by judges, suggesting that he is skeptical as to whether any disclosure requirements are constitutional.

“Laws that directly encumber the right to anonymous association, including statutory disclosure laws, should be subjected to the same scrutiny as laws that directly encumber other rights of the First Amendment.”

Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel Alito ‘freedom-loving’ conservatives fueled the final round of infection and the death Bill would honor Ginsburg, O’Connor with statues in the Capitol No reason to grab the court MORE wrote another consistent statement, saying he does not believe that every disclosure requirement should be subject to a single audit.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit watchdog group campaigning for greater transparency about money in politics, was disappointed with the decision, but said it “encroaches on longstanding laws and regulations that require public disclosure of campaign expenses require, not question “.

“This case is about non-public tax reporting by charities, not public disclosure by those who spend money to influence elections,” the group said in a statement. “Still, this ruling unnecessarily brushes aside precedents in favor of wealthy special interests – and extends an exception that was originally reserved for marginalized groups to seven-figure donors who hope to isolate themselves from public criticism.”

Democratic lawmakers have warned that “dark money” groups influencing elections while keeping their donors secret could use the court’s precedent to evade disclosure laws.

The sweeping Democratic Election Revision Bill, passed by the House of Representatives but blocked by Republicans in the 50-50 Senate, would require any group that spends $ 10,000 or more to influence elections to disclose theirs Request donors. This includes politically active 501 (c) (4) nonprofits that are currently allowed to hide their funding sources.

A group of 15 Democratic Senators submitted an amicus letter In this case, he called on the judges to reject a broad ruling in favor of the AFPF that “would exacerbate the influence of dark money on our politics, politics and public discourse.”

Proponents of stricter campaign funding rules argue that dark money prevents the public from identifying the wealthy donors to whom lawmakers might be bound and judging the legitimacy of political advertisements. Secret money also makes it difficult for authorities to enforce the existing ban on foreign money in US elections, proponents say.

Dark money groups issued more than $ 1 billion on political ads and other news to influence the 2020 election for both Democrats and Republicans, according to an estimate by OpenSecrets.org.

Minority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAbout the Money: Trump Calls on Court to Block Tax Returns to Congress | Private Sector Adds 330,000 Jobs in July, Far Below Expectation Senate Committee Brings First Three Spending Bills McConnell sets GOP calls for state funding deal MORE (R-Ky.) Who submitted a letter in support of the AFPF, has led the GOP to speak out against proposals to disclose donors. Republicans say the measures would discourage individuals from making donations to issuer groups for fear of harassment, which effectively restricts their right to freedom of expression.

Republicans have noted that conservative groups aren’t the only ones backing the lawsuit. Also the American Civil Liberties Union submitted a letter in support of the plaintiffs.

In April, Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon Whitehouse Senate Democrats want to introduce measures to tax the major polluters. Lobbying World Kavanaugh Conspiracy? Demands to reopen the investigation ignore both facts and the law (DR.I.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) And Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. Johnson Rep. Al Green, Texas state legislature arrested during suffrage protest outside the Capitol House Ethics Committee decides against an investigation into civil disobedience of Hank Johnson Jackson Lee is the third CBC member in three weeks to be arrested for the right to protest MORE (D-Ga.) sent a letter to justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBill would honor Ginsburg, O’Connor with statues, Capitol Supreme Court approval drops to 49 percent The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – January 6 investigation, infrastructure dominates the week She unsuccessfully urged them to withdraw from the case. Lawmakers pointed to dark money groups, including the political arm of the AFPF, who launched publicity campaigns urging senators to endorse their endorsement.

Updated at 11:22 am

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