Proposals forcing nonprofits to disclose their donors’ private information have been defeated in at least a dozen states since the start of the year. And that’s not happenstance.
It reflects the continuing effort by groups dedicated to the First Amendment’s right to privacy, specifically the privacy of one’s beliefs. Rightfully so, corrosive state legislative proposals are being rejected because of “a lot of work from nonprofit organizations coming together to defeat them,” says Starlee Coleman, senior policy adviser at the State Policy Network, which supports independent think tanks across the nation.
The leftist push for “transparency” from nonprofits is, itself, exposed, when donor information is effectively weaponized. Consider the case of Mozilla Firefox’s former CEO, who was forced from his job in 2014 with the disclosure of his donation to a California initiative to preserve that state’s definition of marriage, according to The Daily Signal.
Never mind the chilling effect these disclosure mandates would have on contributions — in effect, free speech.
“You don’t have to know who the donors are to the National Rifle Association or Planned Parenthood or the Sierra Club to make your own judgment as individuals about what their message is (and) whether it is credible,” says Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Neither is it in any state’s interest to meddle where it has no public-interest mandate.
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