Donor disclosure law blocked in New Jersey

March 20, 2020 | PUFP Staff

Earlier this month, Judge Brian Martinotti of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted a permanent injunction that bars New Jersey from enforcing S. 150, a state law that would have required certain nonprofit organizations to disclose information about their donors.

The law was challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, and the Illinois Opportunity Project.

Judge Martinotti wrote that, “in a climate marked by the so-called cancel or call-out culture that has resulted in people losing employment, being ejected or driven out of restaurants while eating their meals; and where the Internet removes any geographic barriers to cyber harassment of others, in addition to AFP’s list of threats already experienced against those AFP stakeholders whose identities have become known, a ‘reasonable probability’ standard strikes the Court as less burdensome as Defendants maintain.”

Jeanne LoCicero, Legal Director for the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU, said, “This court order halts the enforcement of a law that hindered the freedom of assembly, hampered the right to petition government, and compromised privacy rights. All nonprofits should be able to communicate about issues of public concern without fear of being subject to invasive disclosure rules.”

Patrick Hughes, President of the Liberty Justice Center, made the following statement: “Adopted under the guise of transparency, these laws are designed to allow opponents of advocacy groups to intimidate and harass the organizations’ supporters. All Americans should be free to support causes they believe in without an invasion into their privacy through excessive government reporting requirements or retribution from their opponents.”