A case for donor anonymity

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

lawsuit gavel with moneyThe president of the nonprofit public interest law firm that defends and promotes America's Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values says his case before the Supreme Court that will decide whether nonprofits have to list the names and addresses of their major donors to the government is especially important for religious organizations.

In the case of Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra, the Michigan-based law firm that promotes and defends traditional family values, the sanctity of human life, and other issues is required by the California attorney general to disclose the names and addresses of major donors on an annual basis.

A federal district court had ruled against the attorney general, but the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision. 

"[This requirement] violates the freedom of association and freedom of speech," Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at Thomas More Law Center, tells One News Now. "We get involved in a lot of controversial issues, and in California what we've noticed and what has actually occurred is that thousands of these so-called confidential records of donors to nonprofit organizations have been released to the public."

According to Thompson, "there are many cases" where individuals have been identified for contributing to organizations such as Thomas More Law Center.

"They are many times disciplined by their employer, sometimes fired, sometimes lose business," Thompson continues. "So it's very important, especially for religious organizations, to maintain their donor base privately."

Why religious organizations specifically?

"We had an expert in philanthropy testify that organizations that deal with religion are most susceptible to controversy and to very deep emotional outrage from one side or the other because it's religious in nature," Thompson explains.

That is why it is more important to keep confidential such organizations' lists than it would be a list of a political organization or a business organization.

"We've had many instances where individuals donate to us anonymously because they're afraid that if their name gets out, then they will be in some way punished," the attorney relays.

Thompson, Richard (TMLC)The Internal Revenue Service requires 501(c)(3) organizations, including Thomas More Law Center, to submit a list of their major donors in order to maintain IRS standing. Thompson says that is different.

"We know that there is a law prohibiting the IRS from making any kind of public revelation of our donor list," he notes. "We don't have the same confidence in state organizations."

Thomas More Law Center is depending on a 1950s Supreme Court case in which justices said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People did not have to provide a list of members to the attorney general of Alabama.

"The Supreme Court denied that, saying that that would violate the freedom of association," says Thompson. "It's been a very good law on the books, but California, because of its political environment, and New York, because of its political environment, and New Jersey, because of its political environment, are the three states that demand all the names of our major donors."

As of Monday, a date has not been set at the Supreme Court for argument in Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra.

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWS BRIEF

FEATURED PODCAST

VOTE IN OUR POLL

During the Biden administration, the biggest targets of the Left will be…(Choose two)

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

McConnell pressures Democrats to keep Senate filibuster
2 Fox News political execs out after prematurely calling Ariz. election for Biden
Biden marks nation's COVID grief before inauguration pomp
Washington state nixes methanol plant meant to supply China
From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebs join inaugural
McConnell accuses Trump of feeding lies to Capital protesters
Stores drop MyPillow after CEO supports Trump election battle

LATEST FROM THE WEB

VP Mike Pence expected to skip Trump send-off to Florida for Biden's inauguration
Rep. Waltz: Shoplifters given more due process than President Trump
Liberals lash out at Chuck Todd for calling on Biden to keep his campaign promise
Why the left has to suppress free speech
Leftists successfully persecuting those who questioned election results, aiming to destroy careers

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
Lawsuit: Is it still a free country?

gavel with U.S. flagA Christian photographer in Virginia who's stepping up to defend free America is waiting to hear whether he can operate his business in accordance with his beliefs.