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May 04, 2015

Calif. Wins Federal Court Ruling on Donor Disclosure

A U.S. appeals court said Friday that charities that raise money in California are obliged to identify major contributors in state filings, reports the Los Angeles Times. The decision, which upheld a lower-court ruling, arose from a case brought by the Center for Competitive Politics, an advocacy group that opposes campaign-reporting regulations and was ordered by state Attorney General Kamala Harris last year to name $5,000-plus donors in reports to her office.

State law requires charities to identify "significant donors," whose names they provide to the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Harris said her office would examine such gifts but not name contributors publicly. The center contended the demand violates its free-speech rights and could compromise donors' confidentiality, an argument the appeals court called "speculative." The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a conservative group backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, filed a similar suit in December.