Eight conservative groups are backing an appeal to the Supreme Court over a controversial California regulation requiring nonprofits to disclose their big donors on a tax form, saying the rule tramples on donors' constitutional rights.
Mark Fitzgibbons of American Target Advertising, a direct marketing and fundraising agency for nonprofit organizations, accuses California Attorney Gen. Kamala Harris of trying "to intimidate and silence conservatives."
They are among a slew of organizations and three states filing amicus briefs in the case. Other conservative organizations fighting the regulation are The Buckeye Institute, Cato Institute, Institute for Justice, and the Pacific Legal Foundation.
"[Harris] is violating clear, landmark Supreme Court precedent and even federal law protecting the privacy of donors to charities and social welfare nonprofit organizations," Fitzgibbons tells Newsmax.
"She will have enough information to use for retribution, as explained by three state attorneys general who filed a brief against her."
In its July appeal of a 9th Circuit Court ruling upholding the California rule, the Center for Competitive Politics asked the high court to follow its 1958 ruling that struck down an Alabama attorney general's demand for a list of all NAACP members in the state, ruling it would the civil rights' group rights of private association.
Opponents have argued donor lists have been leaked
as a way of exposing supporters of conservative causes.
The Daily Caller has reported, for example, the IRS was fined in 2014 for leaking a National Organization for Marriage donor list
to a gay-rights group prior to the 2012 election.
According to Law360.com
, Arizona, Michigan and South Carolina also oppose the California rule.
"Forty-eight states have virtually identical governmental interests to those asserted by California's Attorney General, yet they do not require the sweeping disclosure of donor information demanded by Ms. Harris," the states argue, Law360.com reports. "The unique nature of California’s intrusion into associational privacy suggests that it should not survive application of exacting scrutiny."
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