The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) and the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court today in Institute for Free Speech v. Becerra, No. 19-793, a case challenging California’s requirement that certain non-profits must disclose to the California Attorney General the names and addresses of major donors or else be barred from soliciting donations in that state.
In their brief, PPSA and PRI highlighted a long history of government officials abusing their power by using confidential information about their political rivals to target or harass them. Because of this history, many would-be donors to unpopular nonprofits in California may simply decline to speak. Such a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association constitutes a substantial constitutional injury that requires heightened scrutiny from the courts.
The courts in the Ninth Circuit turned a blind eye to that significant injury. Because of this, PPSA and PRI joined in support of the Petitioner in this case, in defense of donor privacy, and against government abuses of power against unpopular ideas and groups.