Press Release

ALEC Legal Center Files Supreme Court Brief Opposing Donor Disclosure

Alexis Jarrett

ALEC Legal Center Files Supreme Court Brief Opposing Donor Disclosure

Dispute threatens First Amendment and individual privacy

ARLINGTON, VA – (MARCH 2, 2021) Yesterday, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) filed an amicus curiae brief in two U.S. Supreme Court cases on donor privacy, Americans for Prosperity v. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California and Thomas More Law Center v. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California. The Supreme Court cases consider California’s donor-disclosure laws requiring reporting of detailed donor information, which typically remain private.

“Every American should be concerned about this type of detailed donor disclosure,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. She continued, “Whether you support a church or mosque; a conservative or progressive cause, if the California law stands, your name will be on a government list, and you will be susceptible to harassment.”

ALEC interest in these appeals arises from the critical importance of its members’ ability to associate and participate in policy discussions freely and candidly without fear of government or private retaliation.

ALEC is all-too-familiar with the sort of threats and retaliation designed to deter First Amendment activity. In 2013, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin sent an official letter to more than 300 suspected corporate and individual ALEC supporters demanding they disclose contributions to the organization. Senator Durbin stated, “I intend to convene a hearing … and I intend to include your responses to my letters in the hearing record.”

“It should come as no surprise that following disclosure of ALEC support, real harassment and intimidation significantly impacted ALEC membership and funding,” said ALEC Counsel Bartlett Cleland. “The ALEC experience provides a stark example of the burdens and costs visited upon private associations when ideological opponents, including public officials like Senator Durbin, harass their members. It is a lesson in the misuse of disclosure affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1958 NAACP v. Alabama decision.”

With over 2,000 members, ALEC is America’s largest, nonpartisan, voluntary membership association of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. For nearly five decades, ALEC’s mission has been to serve as a forum for the education, study and robust debate of ideas and policies based on the principles of free markets and individual rights.

Read the ALEC Supreme Court brief here.

Read the letter from Senator Durbin here.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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