SOCTUS rules California must stop collecting information on top charity donors

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday that California cannot collect the names and addresses of top donors to charities, the Associated Press reported.

The court sided with two nonprofit groups, one linked to billionaire Charles Koch, that argued that California’s policy violated the First Amendment.

The groups had support from across the political spectrum, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

This is a developing story. More will be added when the Associated Press provides updates.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 28: A view of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. The judges ruled that California will no longer release donor information to the IRS.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

California requires all charities that collect money from state residents to give the state an IRS form identifying their largest contributors. The information is not supposed to be disclosed publicly. Just three other states, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York, require charities to provide the IRS form.

A federal appeals court had upheld California’s practice, ruling that the information serves the important state goal of preventing charities from committing fraud. The information was unlikely to be released publicly, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

The two groups that had challenged California’s requirements are the Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a charitable organization connected to the primary political organization supported by Koch and his brother, David, who died in 2019.

Koch’s organizations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting Republican candidates and conservative policies, making them frequent targets of attacks by Democrats.

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