Americans have the right to free speech—and that includes the right not to speak if you don’t want to. But if a nonprofit group in South Dakota wants to speak out about a public official, a candidate for office, or a political party, the law forces the organization to also say something else: it must disclose its top five donors, in all its communications, with the public.
Forcing these groups to disclose their donors not only violates their First Amendment right to choose what they will and won’t say; it also exposes their donors to “cancel culture” attacks for the causes they support. And it forces an organization’s donors to be publicly associated with the group’s communications, even if the donor had nothing to do with them and gave money to the group for other reasons.
The Liberty Justice Center has filed a federal lawsuit challenging South Dakota’s law on behalf of Students for Life Action, a nonprofit located in South Dakota. Students for Life Action advocates for candidates, policy change, and legal action that supports the organization’s pro-life mission. Should they choose to engage in advocacy during election cycles, Students for Life Action is forced to disclose its top five donors in all its advertisements, exposing those donors to the dangers of cancel culture. Students for Life Action is concerned that this exposure will discourage people from giving money to their organization and threaten their organization’s overall mission.
Americans should be free to give to organizations they support privately. And organizations that speak out about issues should be allowed to say what they want—not forced to say what the government wants them to say. That is why the Liberty Justice Center is asking the courts to strike down South Dakota’s law.