Judge Rebukes Harris’ Effort to Access Group’s Donor Lists

Written by Steven Greenhut and published in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has been in the news lately as the Democratic establishment’s anointed successor to Barbara Boxer, the U.S. senator who has announced her coming retirement. But a recent ruling by a federal court temporarily smacking down one of Harris’ decisions may give her political foes a little ammunition.

In December, this column reported on a federal First Amendment lawsuit filed by the Virginia-based conservative group Americans for Prosperity. The group — co-founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, who are a lightning rod for critics from the political left — argues the AG is trying to squelch free speech by demanding its list of donors.

The IRS requires such tax-exempt charitable groups (the foundation is a 501(c)3, which provides “education” and does some limited lobbying for bills and initiatives) to file an annual report called a Form 990 and a Schedule B, which lists donors who give more than $5,000 a year. The IRS is required to keep the information about donors private.

California also requires groups to register with the attorney general’s office. …

Click here to read the full article