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Judge Rules Koch Brothers Group Can Withhold Donor Data From California

Image: Judge Rules Koch Brothers Group Can Withhold Donor Data From California
California Attorney General Kamala Harris (Wire Services Photo) 

By    |   Friday, 22 Apr 2016 05:55 PM

A nonprofit foundation backed by the billionaire Koch brothers does not have to identify its donors to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a federal judge has ruled.

Citing First Amendment grounds, U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real ruled Thursday that the Americans for Prosperity Foundation were not required to provide information to Harris on those who have contributed more than $5,000.

The organization was established in 2004 by Charles and David Koch. It advocates limiting the size and power of government.

Harris' demand "chills the exercise of [the group]'s 1st Amendment freedoms to speak anonymously and to engage in expressive association," Real wrote.

"The attorney general's current approach to confidentiality obviously and profoundly risks disclosure," he continued.

Luke Hilgemann, AFP's chief executive officer, hailed the ruling Friday as "an important victory for free speech and for everyone who believes in the importance of the First Amendment.

"Donors to organizations, regardless of their views on public policy matters, should be free to support causes they believe in without fear of retaliation, harassment, or intimidation by powerful government figures," he said. "The court's ruling confirms what we have known all along — that Attorney General Harris has no right to police the beliefs of individual Americans, or causes they choose to support."

Harris, a Democrat, is running to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

A spokesman for the attorney general told the Los Angeles Times that she would appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

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A nonprofit foundation backed by the billionaire Koch brothers does not have to identify its donors to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a federal judge has ruled.
koch, brothers, group, judge, ruling, withhold, donor, data, california
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2016-55-22
Friday, 22 Apr 2016 05:55 PM
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