Connor Boyack and Billy Hesterman
While it makes sense to require disclosure from organizations whose primary or sole purpose is political — as they directly affect government processes and outcomes — the bill expanded the reporting requirements to include organizations whose political advocacy is infrequent and, more often than not, focused on advocacy and education.
That’s why HB 43 poses a problem. Organizations such as ours engage in a number of public interest activities, such as holding public forums, publishing educational materials and conducting original research. This is our primary purpose; by law, political advocacy on our part can be and is only a limited aspect of our overall effort.
Now imagine our donors, who have no interest in supporting our lobbying efforts. Mr. Smith might give $10,000 toward our general operations as a supporter of an aspect of our work, and neither he nor we intend to use that money for a political purpose. Nevertheless, under current Utah law, should our organizations spend more than $750 in a given year on any unrelated political advocacy, we must also disclose Mr. Smith’s identity and personal information.