The American Civil Liberties Union is supporting a challenge in the Supreme Court to California’s donor disclosure rule, which requires any charity raising money in the Golden State to reveal contributors to the state attorney general.
The ACLU, along with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, have filed a brief with the high court in support of the challenge. The move puts them at odds with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse D-R.I., and other Democrat lawmakers who oppose "dark money" political activity, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The Free Beacon said critics maintain the rule deters would-be donors and members.
Whitehouse wants the Justice Department to reverse its position and back California's rule in the high court.
The rule has been in place for more than 20 years. The state purports to keep contributor information confidential. However, in 2016 representatives of then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris said there had been multiple privacy breaches, the Free Beacon said.
"The record in this case discloses a disturbing pattern of failures to keep the forms confidential," the ACLU said in its brief. “The resulting chill to First Amendment interests harms donors, nonprofit organizations, and civil society writ large."
Reuters reported that the case involves an appeal of a lower court ruling that said California’s attorney general could require two nonprofit organizations, Americans for Prosperity and the Thomas More Law Center, to furnish donor details.
The groups maintain the demand infringed upon their freedom of speech and association under the First Amendment.
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