Court will hear Koch-linked group’s appeal over disclosure

January 8, 2021 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether California can collect the names and addresses of top donors to two conservative nonprofit groups, including one with links to billionaire Charles Koch.

The justices on Friday agreed to hear an appeal from the two groups, Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Thomas More Law Center, that argue the state’s policy violates the First Amendment and would deter people from giving.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco had ruled that the information serves the important state goal of preventing charities from committing fraud and was unlikely to be released publicly.


California requires all charities that collect money from state residents to give the state an Internal Revenue Service form identifying their largest contributors. The state is not allowed to disclose the names publicly, but state officials say they need the names to determine whether a group is really doing charitable work and is not involved in illegal business activity.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation is a charitable organization connected to the primary political organization supported by Koch and his brother, David, who died in 2019. Koch’s organizations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting Republican candidates and conservative policies, making them frequent targets of attacks by Democrats.

The California case was among about a dozen the high court agreed to hear Friday. They included one brought by a high school student who sued after she was suspended from the cheerleading squad over a Snapchat posting. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that public schools can’t police that sort of off-campus conduct.

The justices also will consider whether Alaska Native corporations are eligible for a share of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes in a closely watched case in American Indian country. A federal appeals court ruled that the money should be withheld from the corporations, reversing a judge’s ruling.