Court Strikes Down California Effort to Reveal Donors to Nonprofit
BY: Lachlan Markay
April 21, 2016 4:25 pm
District court judge Manuel Real ruled that attorney general Kamala Harris’ office did not demonstrate a sufficient need for that information when it sought to bar the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation from raising money in the state unless it turned over that list.
If upheld, the case could have broad implications for efforts by Democratic politicians to more heavily scrutinize—and, critics say, censor or stifle—nonprofit groups that engage in political speech without advocating for or against specific candidates.
The AFP Foundation “has proven that disclosing its Schedule B to the Attorney General would create a burden on its First Amendment rights,” Real wrote in his decision.
“During the course of trial, the Court heard ample evidence establishing that AFP, its employees, supporters and donors face public threats, harassment, intimidation, and retaliation once their support for and affiliation with the organization becomes publicly known,” Real wrote.
The AFP Foundation invoked the Supreme Court’s 1958 decision in NAACP v. Alabama, which upheld donor and membership privacy under the First Amendment. Harris downplayed threats against the foundation by noting that those leveled against the NAACP during the civil rights movement were far more severe.
Real agreed, but waved off the argument.
“Although the Attorney General correctly points out that such abuses are not as violent or pervasive as those encountered in NAACP v. Alabama or other cases from that era, this Court is not prepared to wait until an AFP opponent carries out one of the numerous death threats made against its members,” the judge wrote.
This reg is loaded with potential for power abuse - through selective enforcement. It needs to be repealed entirely, or struck down as unconstitutional if Sacto pols lack the courage to do the obviously right thing. BTW, this is the same Kamala Harris who is running for Babs Boxer’s US Senate seat, has received 10s of thousands of $$ from Planned Parenthood, and raided David Daleiden’s home. That raid and this case are unrelated, except as demonstrations of Kamala Harris’ willingness to abuse her power with partisan and $$ objectives.