Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta

Two Supreme Court cases challenging a California law that compels the disclosure of charitable organizations’ donor information

On March 1, 2021, the Knight Institute joined an amicus brief filed by the ACLU in two cases pending before the Supreme Court, Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta. These cases challenge a California law requiring charitable organizations fundraising within the state to disclose a list of their major donors to the state attorney general.

Under the law, each charitable organization fundraising in the state must produce to the state a list of its top donors. Although California is required by state law to keep these disclosures private, California has repeatedly failed to maintain the confidentiality of this information.

The amicus brief argues that disclosure requirements which lead to the release of sensitive associational information to the public implicate serious First Amendment concerns and are constitutional only when the disclosure is substantially related to a sufficiently important governmental interest. The brief argues that California’s disclosure requirement fails to satisfy this test as applied to the plaintiffs.

Status: Decided on July 1, 2021. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that a California law that compels the disclosure of donor information violates the First Amendment.

Case Information: Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, No. 19-251 (Supreme Court).

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