Do citizens in a free society have a right to privacy in charitable giving?
Cascade Policy Institute
A Debate on Privacy in Charitable Giving
James Huffman, J.D.
Dan Meek, J.D.
“Do citizens in a free society have a right to privacy
with respect to their charitable giving?”
Is there a compelling public interest in knowing the sources of funding to nonprofit charitable institutions?
Should all such organizations be forced to reveal the names, address, and employers of their donors,
as is now required for most political giving?
Arguing in favor of donor privacy will be James Huffman, Dean Emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School. Arguing for public disclosure will be Dan Meek, a public interest attorney and Co-chair of the Independent Party of Oregon. Moderating will be Nigel Jaquiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with Willamette Week. This debate is sponsored by the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.
Background: Contributions to candidates running for elective office must be disclosed to the public. The donor must reveal his or her name, address, occupation, and employer. These “donor transparency” requirements may deter some individuals from making political contributions if they anticipate the likelihood of retribution for backing the “wrong” candidate.
Contributions to nonprofit charitable organizations do not carry the same requirements. However, in recent years, pressure has been growing to require charitable organizations to reveal more information about their donors. For example, during February 2015, U.S. Representative Raul M. Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District who is the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent letters to the heads of seven universities requesting donor information related to professors at those institutions who had previously testified before Congress regarding global warming and related topics.
The universities, including MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of Alabama-Huntsville, were asked to turn over to Congress such information as the source of funding, amount of funding, and the reason for receiving the funding related to the named professors.
About James Huffman:
Jim Huffman is Dean Emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a graduate of Montana State University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the University of Chicago Law School. Over a forty-year career at Lewis & Clark, he taught many courses, including constitutional law and constitutional history. As the 2010 Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Oregon, Jim learned much about the legal and practical implications of campaign finance regulation.
About Dan Meek:
Dan Meek is a public interest attorney in Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate of Stanford law school and has served as counsel at the California Energy Commission and as staff director of two Congressional subcommittees. He has practiced law in Portland since 1987, representing electricity ratepayers, political parties, candidates, and nonprofit organizations. He is Co-chair of the Independent Party of Oregon, representing more than 5% of Oregon registered voters.
About Nigel Jaquiss:
Nigel Jaquiss has been a journalist with Willamette Week since 1997. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for his 2004 story exposing former Governor Neil Goldschmidt’s sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl while serving as Portland Mayor.
Complimentary coffee, tea, iced tea
No-host bar (cash only)
This event is free. RSVP by May 29.
Cascade Policy Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible and accepted with gratitude.
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