David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), was unsure how much the decision would affect his organization’s case but what came out during the trial might. Arlington, Va.-based CCP has fought similar battles against the AG’s office in recent years.
“Representations the government made in our case turned out to be false,” Keating said, claiming they need the information to enforce the law and audit information. “In trial, it was pretty clear that they don’t use the information at all. If they need it, they can easily get it just by asking organizations for it. They haven’t had to issue a subpoena to get that information,” he said.
The office is “totally incompetent” in keeping information confidential, Keating added. “Every Schedule B was available to the public on their website if people knew how to find them,” he said. The Form 990s were scanned in sequential numbers and uploaded online but were never coded to require that the Schedule B needed a password to access it. Keating said anyone could build a tool to scrape the AG’s website to get all the information, which AFP likely did.