NAM & ALF File Joint Amicus Brief Challenging California Donor Disclosure Requirement

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a California requirement that charities identify their major donors violates First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. This issue potentially has nationwide implications for many types of private nonprofit organizations that advocate collectively on behalf of their supporters or members. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Atlantic Legal Foundation have filed a joint amicus brief urging the Court to invalidate the California law.

Issue Areas:

Individual Liberty

Read the Amicus Brief:
Question(s) Presented:

Whether the exacting scrutiny the Court has long required of laws that abridge the freedoms of speech and association outside the election context can be satisfied absent any showing that a blanket governmental demand for the individual identities and addresses of major donors to private nonprofit organizations is narrowly tailored to an asserted law-enforcement interests and addresses of major donors to private nonprofit organizations is narrowly tailored to an asserted law-enforcement interest.

Additional Background:

Background & Amicus Brief: In January 2021 the Supreme Court agreed to hear two consolidated First Amendment challenges to a California law requiring disclosure of major financial contributors to charitable organizations. In September 2019 ALF submitted a petition-stage amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) urging the Supreme Court to hear the appeals. Now that the Court has granted review, ALF has joined NAM as co-amicus in a merits-stage amicus brief that was filed on March 1, 2021. 

ALF’s Amicus Brief:

The joint amicus brief was drafted by Ben Field and Sean Marotta and at Hogan Lovells US LLP. It argues that the California law chills the First Amendment rights to free speech and free association because disclosure of trade associations’ and other nonprofit organizations’ donors would stifle individual donors’ ability to engage in collective, sometimes unpopular or controversial advocacy, and would subject them to retaliation, harassment, or worse.


The Supreme Court issued a favorable opinion on July 1, 2021.  See 141 S. Ct. 2373 (2021). Read more about the opinion here.

Date Originally Posted: March 1, 2021

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