The Wall Street Journal offers a comprehensive and incisive editorial of last week’s 6-3 Supreme Court victory for donor privacy. In Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, non-profits prevailed against California’s effort to force them to disclose their donors’ identities to the state. It is well worth reading.
One point from this piece leaps out at us. In its failed bid to track donors to non-profits, California has pledged to keep their identities private, despite disastrous lapses in digital security that in the past has exposed donors to bomb threats, protests, stalking, and physical violence. The Journal then makes a logical connection to a recent event that belies California’s promise that this time will be different. The Journal writes:
No one should be put at ease by California’s insistence that it will be more careful. The website ProPublica is running a series of tendentious articles based on IRS tax records from thousands of wealthy Americans. The files came from a leaker or a hacker whose identity ProPublica professes not to know. Nonprofit donor databases would be a juicy target for the next round of illegal disclosures.
Protect The 1st believes that even if California could be trusted to safely hold donor identities, state officials would still have access to a database that could inspire politically motivated or personal retaliation. Just the fear of that would chill civic involvement and speech.