|Sierra, CA 2012-5|
The Supreme Court overturned a California law requiring charities and non-profits to name large contributors. NPR has a story here by Nina Totenberg.
Justice Roberts said the court was using an “exacting scrutiny” standard rather than strict scrutiny. Presumably the state wants to limit anonymity to ferret out fraud. It would sound like the law could be stricter with PAC’s and with charities giving services apolitically.
The controversy reminds me of one in the early 2000’s about campaign finance reform and the idea that bloggers were donating labor for free under the table to influence policy. This all came to a head in the fall of 2005 before the FEC said essentially don’t worry about it. But there is a genuine issue that some individuals can covertly influence policy completely outside of traditional political organizing, usually a complaint from the Left.
The suit had been brought by Americans for Prosperity, the Thomas More Law Center, and the Koch Brothers.
Here is the PDF of the opinion.