PUFP VP Matt Nese’s Comments on ACE Act during Committee on House Administration Roundtable

July 27, 2022

People United for Privacy Vice President Matt Nese attended a roundtable organized by House Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis earlier today and offered the following comments, as prepared for delivery, in support of several critical provisions protecting citizen privacy included in the “American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act,” introduced today by House Republicans:

“I want to start by thanking Ranking Member Rodney Davis for his leadership and tireless dedication to this effort. It’s incredible what every Member of Congress in this room has done in taking a stand for citizen privacy and what the Committee has accomplished with this bill and the thoughtful work that went into it over the past year.

People United for Privacy is strongly supportive of the ACE Act’s crucial privacy protections. To be very clear, these provisions protect the privacy of nonprofit supporters. They have nothing to do with campaign finance. The right to support nonprofits privately is a First Amendment right that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld for decades, including as recently as last year in the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) v. Bonta decision. This issue may seem partisan in Congress, but it’s not partisan in real life. The privacy rights at stake in the AFPF case were supported by over 280 nonprofits representing a wide range of causes and political preferences, from the ACLU and National Association of Manufacturers to the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Zionist Organization of America. Nonprofits may often disagree on various policy issues, but they’re united in agreement on protecting the privacy of their supporters.

This is easy to understand. Americans who choose to give to nonprofit causes do so because those organizations can more effectively and efficiently communicate their views. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Americans have supported causes since the country’s founding era and have done so privately for just as long. What’s new is that there are some in Congress – not anyone in this room – that want to pry into the private beliefs of their constituents by forcing disclosure of their views. The intent with efforts like H.R. 1 is for the public to access that information so they can name-and-shame other Americans for their beliefs. The ACE Act takes a strong stand in support of citizen privacy and in opposition to these efforts in Congress and at the state level. In so doing, the ACE Act defends the vital role nonprofit organizations serve in encouraging free speech and the free exchange of ideas, without which democracy suffers.”

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