Signing of Donor Disclosure Law Assaults Constitution, Prompting ACLU-NJ to Prepare Lawsuit

Advocates offer to work with legislators on suggested fix to mitigate constitutional concerns

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
June 17, 2019 9:30 am

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With Governor Murphy’s signature, a bill requiring 501(c)(4) social welfare advocacy organizations to turn over personal information to the government about their donors is now law, placing foundational constitutional rights at risk. The ACLU-NJ will continue to push for a legislative fix to the problematic law, while also preparing a legal challenge.

ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha issued the following statement in response:

“Civil rights organizations have pointed out the clear constitutional violations of this bill since its introduction. The courts have made it clear time and again that the Constitution does not allow the government to target organizations simply for speaking on issues of public concern. While the ACLU of New Jersey will continue to advocate for a legislative remedy, signing this bill into law also forces us to prepare for legal action.

“Regardless of the law’s intent, in practice, it punishes people for expressing their values by aligning with issue-based social welfare organizations. It hinders the freedom of assembly, hampers the right to petition our government, and compromises our right to privacy.

“Lawmakers could have brought transparency to the electoral process while protecting free speech rights, but they did not. We will address this bill’s constitutional violations in the halls of the Legislature, or if necessary, in a court of law. Democracy demands no less.”

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