NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release
January 11, 2017
Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or
State Think Tanks Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Free Speech
Atlanta – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has joined a coalition of 24 state-based think tanks around the nation to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the names of donors to nonprofit organizations.
The coalition supports an amicus brief filed Tuesday by the Buckeye Institute of Ohio in the case of Independence Institute v. Federal Elections Commission. The coalition believes it is unconstitutional for the federal government to compel the Independence Institute of Colorado to provide its donor list and is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a district court decision supporting the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
The FEC claims an ad by the Independence Institute referenced specific candidates within 60 days of the election, which meant, under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, that the Independence Institute must disclose its entire list of donors to the government.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization constrained by regulations of the Internal Revenue Service from advocating for or against political candidates. Further, our policy is to never attack individuals. The Foundation and our sister think tanks do, however, strive to educate the public on good and bad policy, sometimes naming the originators.
The Independence Institute’s ad named candidates – without advocating for or against them. The Foundation and our affiliates do not believe that this justifies compromising the privacy of our supporters and donors. Too often, such exposure has been used to hinder Americans’ freedom to support the organizations of their choice, both by harassment and embarrassment.
“Critics have gone as far as intimidating companies into firing employees who merely exercised their right to free speech by supporting or donating to legitimate causes they believe in,” said Kelly McCutchen, President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
“Our supporters’ contributions to the Foundation or any other causes they believe in is their own business. We will not make their names or donations public, although they always have the choice to do so themselves,” McCutchen added.
“We have pledged to protect our supporters’ privacy, and this government threat to the Independence Institute is a threat to us all.”
Read the amicus brief here.
About the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: Established in 1991, the Foundation is an independent, state-focused think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Visit our Web site at georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at forum.georgiapolicy.org. Like the Foundation’s Facebook page; follow us on Twitter and Instagram.