Liberals today are determined to aggressively stamp out and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them. That is why, when the IRS “accidentally” leaked the identities of donors to the National Organization for Marriage, those donors faced reprisals in the form of boycotts and public harassment. Since conservatives seem to have abandoned the field of boycotts for reasons of questionable wisdom, this appears to be a one way ratchet in which companies and prominent individuals face no reprisal for donating to liberal causes, but risk massive boycott campaigns for contributing to conservative ones.
Enter California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is running for the Senate seat that [mc_name name=’Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B000711′ ] will soon be vacating. Harris is attempting to force nonprofit groups that operate in California to publicly reveal their donors by turning over their unredacted 990 tax returns with donor info. Since California is one of the states that requires all nonprofits to register with the state before soliciting charitable donations from any in-state residents, failure to comply with Harris’ order would mean that nonprofit groups would be unable to solicit donations from California residents, which would have a potentially crippling effect on fundraising efforts for some organizations.
Thus, conservative nonprofit organizations face a Sophie’s Choice: lose their California donors or expose their entire donor base to every liberal troll in the country.
Thing is, all nonprofit organizations already have to submit their donor list to the IRS on their annual 990 tax returns – but the donor information itself is confidential by operation of law and unauthorized disclosure is punishable by criminal sanction. The California AG’s order contains no such protections.
Further, AG Harris is demanding that nonprofit organizations turn in their entire unredacted 990 return – including non-California donors, including donors who have no jurisdictional contact with California and thus are beyond her legal reach. Further, the schedule listing donors on the 990 return itself is expressly protected by Federal law.
An impressive 58 nonprofit organizations have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, asking them to stop Kamala Harris from her transparent attempt to help liberal grievance organizations intimidate donors to conservative organizations and their businesses. You can read their brief in its entirety here.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this fight. If conservative donors can automatically become targets of harassment and intimidation for giving to conservative orgs, then slowly but surely these orgs will dry up and their work – which in some cases is quite valuable, will be lost. Liberal nonprofit groups, meanwhile, will continue to survive and thrive under this regime – all due to the actions of a single state Attorney General.