Voters support donor privacy bill on Governor’s desk

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
March 25, 2019

A bill that would protect the personal privacy of individuals who donate to nonprofit charities awaits the signature of Gov. Phil Bryant this week.

Authored by Rep. Jerry Turner and championed by Rep. Mark Baker, HB 1205 allows a nonprofit organization to defend itself in court if a rogue government agency or employee releases the nonprofit’s confidential donor lists.

“The enemies of free speech and free association are making our political environment toxic by seeking to silence and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them,” said Dr. Jameson Taylor, vice president for policy with MCPP. “In Montana, the governor is going after businesses who donate to trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In California, then-AG Kamala Harris made it a priority to obtain the donor lists of conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity. At the federal level, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-majority House have passed H.R. 1, which would destroy donor privacy and politicize the federal contracting process.

“Unfortunately, these tactics are not new. They were used by government officials in the 1950s in an effort to destroy the NAACP. They are being used today to bully and harass donors who give to nonprofit organizations.”

Statewide polling shows 81 percent of Mississippi voters support legislation that would protect the personal information of individuals who donate to the causes and charities of their choice. HB 1205 would do that by making it a crime for the government to release the personal information of any person who gives to an entity organized under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The tax code recognizes 29 different “c” groups, all of which are nonprofits. These include: charitable nonprofits, like churches and domestic violence shelters; trade and agricultural associations; labor unions; and veterans’ groups.

“The people of Mississippi support donor privacy because we realize, perhaps more than most, how necessary it is to protect the right of everyone, regardless of race, creed or political affiliation, to support the causes they individually believe in without fear of discrimination and retaliation,” said Dr. Taylor.

See statewide polling results here.


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