Monday, December 31, 2018
Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have protected Michiganders from being targeted for donating to a nonprofit or charitable organization. Senate Bill 1176 would have prohibited state agencies from requiring a nonprofit to expose its donors’ private information. The Mackinac Center testified in support of donor protection because, as Gov. Snyder stated in his veto letter, ‘other state attorneys general have probed for information relative to nonprofit donors.’ Some attorneys general have ignored the constitutional precedent set forth in NAACP v. Alabama whereby compelled disclosure of nonprofit supporters was found to violate donors’ freedoms of speech and association guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The bill would have protected individuals when government officials, such as attorneys general, abuse their power to target individuals secretly or publicly and expose them to harm. The bill would have encouraged people to give charitably, without putting their livelihoods, property or safety at risk of retribution by government or private actors. The Mackinac Center will continue to advocate for individuals’ constitutional freedom to associate and support whatever causes they choose without fear of reprisal.
Joseph G. Lehman
President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy