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Thomas Gallatin / March 8, 2021

Biden/Harris vs. Harris/Becerra

SCOTUS will hear a case backed by the Biden administration over a California AG rule that violates the First Amendment.

Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services and the current California attorney general, find themselves in a very uncomfortable predicament. This one pits the Biden administration against both Harris and Becerra for having violated Californians’ First Amendment rights.

At issue is their demand that all nonprofits in the Golden State disclose their list of donors to the state AG. The case Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief was originally filed by the solicitor general on behalf of the Trump administration, but the Biden/Harris administration has joined it. The latter contends, “The district court found that petitioners had presented ‘ample evidence’ that their known contributors had in the past suffered harassment, reprisals, and similar harms, and that contributors listed on the Schedule B would therefore face a reasonable probability of such harms in the future were their identities made public.”

In plain English, starting under Harris’s stint as California AG and continuing with Becerra’s term, nonprofits were commanded to disclose their donors lists to the AG, which became a big problem for people who gave to the “wrong” cause.

It was a blatant violation of Californians’ First Amendment rights, as determined by SCOTUS’s 1958 decision in NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, which required the protection of privacy for donors and organization members. Both Harris and Becerra failed to do this.

One example highlighting this dangerous failure was the public outing of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for having donated to the marriage amendment known as Proposition 8, which cost him his job. Now, in light of today’s aggressive cancel culture, the stakes have only gotten higher.

Interestingly, it’s not only conservative nonprofits that have joined in demanding an end to California’s donor data notification but also groups on the Left like the NAACP and PETA. PETA even suggests that nefarious motives have been at play in the security breaches that have compromised more than 1,800 charities’ confidential donor information. “The compelled disclosure of confidential donor information from all 115,000 charities registering to engage in protected speech in California, including major donors outside the State of California, has no substantial relationship to preventing fraud in California. It does nothing to prevent fraud,” says PETA. “Equally problematic, the requirement operates on the assumption that every registering charity is guilty of fraud until proven innocent. … The record is clear: the Attorney General has no genuine need for Schedule Bs. … Because the Attorney General has such little actual use for Schedule Bs, a reasonable person might ask, ‘If they do not need the information to enforce solicitation laws, then why do they want it?’”

Harris has remained mum, while Becerra has essentially shrugged off “any claim that California’s requirement could lead to public harassment or other negative consequences.” A myriad of evidence shows otherwise, as even Team Biden’s SCOTUS brief indicates.

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