Is the Tide on Campaign Finance Disclosure Quietly Shifting? A Look One Year After Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta
Amber Maltbie moderated the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Election Law webinar “Is the Tide on Campaign Finance Disclosure Quietly Shifting? A Look One Year After Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta” on October 5, 2022.
In July of 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a policy of the California Attorney General’s office that required charities to disclose the names and addresses of their major donors. In Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, the court found the policy to be facially invalid because it burdened donors’ First Amendment rights and was not narrowly tailored to an important government interest.
While ostensibly a straightforward case about nonprofits and the privacy interests of their donors, Bonta sent shockwaves around the campaign finance and election law community. In deciding the case, the Court established a new, higher standard of review for compelled disclosure laws than had previously existed, making campaign finance disclosures vulnerable to legal challenges.
The panel looked at the state of the law one year later, examining the outcome of challenges to campaign finances laws that were brought under Bonta, as well the surprising ways courts have applied the new Bonta standard of review in election law cases.