Nonprofits urged to counter intimidation

– The Agitator –

Urgent Alert to U.S. Nonprofits–Immediate Action Needed

If you’re willing to turn over the list of your top donors to the government then you need read no further.

However, if you’re not sure, or you’re absolutely certain you’d be unwilling to give up the donor list, then take this post to your CEO and General Counsel. Immediately.

Why? Because right now the Attorney General of California is set on requiring that any nonprofit seeking a license to solicit funds in the nation’s largest state first turn over their lists of top donors that are filed with the IRS on a supposedly “confidential” schedule of your tax return.

This dangerous and unconstitutional power grab in the name of ‘fundraising regulation’ and ‘consumer protection’ must be stopped.

And it’s up to all of us—nonprofits and the companies that serve them to stand up now and take action.

Whether or not your organization or one you serve solicits funds in California the battle ahead will affect the freedom of speech and privacy rights of every nonprofit in the U.S. and their donors.

In a moment I’ll outline the steps you can take immediately to head off this threat. But first some background.

A year ago this week The Agitator warned [1] about a sinister move by the Oklahoma Attorney General and his special interest contributors to silence the Humane Society of United States (HSUS) using that state’s fundraising regulations.

HSUS has boldly and, so far, successfully fought back.

As I pointed out last August there have been relatively few occasions in modern history where politicians have blatantly sought to use the power of their office to silence nonprofits that opposed them or whose views and ideology they disagreed with.

At the end of the day, Americans and the U.S. Supreme Court have shown little tolerance for political zealots and bullies who abuse U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and due process.

NOW …The Intimidators Are At It Again. And We Must Make Sure They Lose. Again.

Right now, in an approach reminiscent of the 1958 attempt by the State of Alabama to intimidate and silence the NAACP by seeking to compel it to turn over its membership and contributor lists, the Attorney General of California is also attempting to intimidate a nonprofit by forcing it to give up the names of top donors in order to be granted a permit to solicit funds.

History repeats itself with slight variations. This time it’s a liberal Attorney General (Kamala Harris) in opposition to the conservative Center for Competitive Politics [2]

It doesn’t matter whether your organization is ideologically ‘liberal’, ‘conservative’, ‘neutral’ or ‘agnostic’ the threat to free speech and due process is exactly the same.

And that’s why it’s time for every organization, every agency and every nonprofit supplier cares about basic constitutional rightsto join the fight to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • The Free Speech Coalition [3] along with dozens of nonprofits and some fundraising agencies are preparing to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court.
  • The greater the number and the more diverse the nonprofits signing on to this brief the greater its impact with the Court. The Justices need to know that regardless of our missions, regardless of our ideologies we are all united in standing up for free speech and due process rights and against the threats and intimidation by political office holders.
  • Here’s draft of the Amicus brief. [4] It offers an excellent summary of the issues involved in this case and the dangers posed by states attorneys’ general abuse of fundraising regulations.
  • These are nonpartisan issues that cut to the core of the privacy of association for donors and members and the right of nonprofits to criticize powerful institutions and public figures.
  • Please take a few minutes right now and share this post and the Draft Amicus Brief with the key folks in your organization.

[ If you’d like more information or wish to refer your general counsel, CEO or someone in your organization to the attorney in charge of building this coalition of the concerned please contact Mark Fitzgibbons at 703-392-7676 or ]

  • And remember success will come only if we stand together and if each of us does our part.

For freedom.


P.S. Mark Fitzgibbons, the attorney who prepared the draft Amicus Brief, is a long-time warrior on behalf on nonprofit constitutional and donor rights. He’s been part of the active core of the Free Speech Coalition for years and I’ve joined in battle many times. He’s a fighter.

He also serves as President of Corporate Affairs at American Target Advertising whose founder is direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie. In the 40 years Richard and I’ve been battling each other ideologically and politically I think there’s only been one thing we’ve always agreed on: the importance of the Constitutional guarantees of free speech and due process unhampered by the meddling hands officials who abuse their power in attempts to silence those with whom they disagree.

So, once more we go into battle together. I hope you’ll join us.

P.P.S. Time is short. We need to hear from as many organizations as possible. So, when your organization is ready to sign on please identify the name of your organization, and whether it is a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).  I ask that you reply by Friday, August 21. 

Please send your reply to [5] or to me at [6] .

Article printed from The Agitator:

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