Press Release – Should Charities Be Required to Disclose the Names of Donors?
June 12, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John A. Charles, Jr.
Should Charities Be Required to Disclose the Names of Donors?
PORTLAND, Ore. – Cascade Policy Institute hosted a debate on the topic of donor privacy versus donor disclosure at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland June 1. The event was prompted by a growing number of legislative proposals in other states to regulate charitable giving the same as political giving, which requires disclosure of the names, addresses, and employers of contributors.
More than 100 attendees were treated to an engaging discussion between James Huffman, Dean Emeritus of the Lewis & Clark Law School, and Dan Meek, a public interest attorney and Co-chair of the Independent Party of Oregon. The debate was moderated by Nigel Jaquiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with Willamette Week.
Complete video of the event is available online at cascadepolicy.org.
Attendees were surveyed by email after the debate. Of 83 attendees with email addresses, 30 people responded to the survey.
When asked, “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 favoring total donor privacy in charitable giving and 5 favoring complete public disclosure, how would you rank your personal values?”, 33% favored total donor privacy. 27% favored total disclosure.
70% of survey respondents said they would not “support state legislation to require that all nonprofit charitable organizations disclose the names, addresses, and amount of donation for all contributors in the previous year.” 20% said they would support such legislation, and 10% were unsure.
Of those who responded, 37% said the debate persuaded them to reconsider their assumptions about donor privacy.
According to Cascade Policy CEO John A. Charles, Jr., “Donor privacy is important because excessive public disclosure requirements can be used to intimidate people who wish to anonymously support certain charitable causes. This debate shone much-needed light on all aspects of the issue. Most importantly, a third of respondents indicated that the speakers made them reconsider their views. This is the sign of a successful public discussion.”
The donor privacy debate was sponsored by Cascade Policy Institute and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. Roggendorf Law LLC and The Federalist Society Portland Lawyers Chapter also cosponsored.