Vice President of Communication and Federal Affairs, Freedom Foundation
The constitutional right for Americans to freely express our views is under attack from laws that require nonprofit organizations to subject their donors to public scrutiny. A new report from the John Locke Foundation urges North Carolina lawmakers to proactively reject this intimidation tactic that invades donors’ privacy for political gain. Our panel will discuss the chilling effect of disclosure laws on all nonprofits, but particularly those that hold unpopular or minority views on public policy. We’ll look at the long and disreputable history of using donor disclosure as a weapon against political and ideological opponents, including job losses and death threats for private individuals, boycotts and protests for business owners, and doxing and online hate-storms for both groups. We’ll also discuss court cases dealing with disclosure, including the key elements — and critical shortcomings — of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, NAACP v. Alabama. In 1958, Justice John M. Harlan II authored the unanimous ruling that found Alabama’s donor disclosure law violated the U.S. Constitution.