Washington Post: Koch-backed charity must reveal donor list to California officials, appeals panel rules (In the News)

Washington Post: Koch-backed charity must reveal donor list to California officials, appeals panel rules

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee

The panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed a district judge’s ruling that the group, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, does not need to submit a list of its donors to a state registry…

“We are disappointed by the Ninth Circuit’s latest decision and believe it imperils people’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and of association,” AFP Foundation spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement…

“I think the decision is appallingly wrong,” said David Keating, president of the nonprofit Institute for Free Speech, which opposes limits on political speech. “Basically, the panel is saying there’s no right to privacy in California if you speak on anything. The implications of that are pretty chilling and pretty stunning.” …

In 2016, a district court judge sided with the Koch group, saying the disclosure requirement created a chilling effect for donors and infringed on their First Amendment rights, and that there was ample evidence that state officials have made “careless mistakes” handling confidential donor information.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Raymond C. Fisher disagreed…

Fisher ruled that collecting the donor information is in the state’s interest and does not create a burden on donors’ First Amendment rights because it is “collected solely for nonpublic use, and the risk of inadvertent public disclosure is slight.”

Fisher acknowledged that some donors may be deterred from contributing to the charity as a result of the requirement, but said it would result in a “modest impact on contributions.”

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.