Over the past three years, lawmakers in more than two dozen states have considered bills or regulations that would force nonprofit organizations to report the names and addresses of their supporters to the state government. These proposals threaten the privacy of ordinary Americans simply because they support a cause they believe in. They are also reckless. Exposing the home address of donors to controversial causes could put people’s safety at risk. And it also violates the fundamental principle enshrined in the First Amendment: the right to freely associate with people who share our beliefs without the government looking over our shoulder and reporting that information to the wider world.
We all want politicians to be accountable to the public, not their donors. That’s why financial contributions to political candidates are already required to be reported. But requiring private nonprofit organizations that don’t contribute to candidate campaigns to report their donors goes too far.
We’ve developed resources for lawmakers that might be helpful to you as these proposals come to your state. Please contact us to receive copies of these materials and to discuss model legislation.