Supreme Court strikes down California nonprofit donor disclosure rule

The Court ruled that California infringed on charities' First Amendment rights.

Updated: July 1, 2021 - 10:58am

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that California went too far when requiring that charities file with state regulators federal forms disclosing major contributors to tax-exempt charities.

The court found that California's requests violated donors' First Amendment rights, according to The Wall Street Journal.

California’s regulation required charities to include in their registration with the state attorney general’s office a disclosure of major donors they file separately with the federal Internal Revenue Service, called schedule B donor information.

"The Court does not doubt the importance of California’s interest in preventing charitable fraud and self-dealing. But the enormous amount of sensitive information collected through Schedule Bs does not form an integral part of California’s fraud detection efforts," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the decision, according to The NonProfit Times. "In reality, California’s interest is less in investigating fraud and more in ease of administration."

"The prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency," Roberts added.