Citizens United loses New York ruling over donors
A federal judge on Monday rejected Citizens United’s effort to block New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from demanding that the conservative group disclose more information about its major donors.
U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan refused to impose a preliminary injunction that would stop Schneiderman from requiring charities to disclose names, addresses and total contributions of big donors in order to solicit funds in the state.
Citizens United argued that Schneiderman’s interpretation of a 2006 state regulation on donor disclosures violated its First Amendment free speech and association rights, and invaded the privacy of donors who wished to remain anonymous.
But the judge said Schneiderman’s policy was substantially related to the important government interests of enforcing charitable solicitation laws, and protecting residents from illegitimate charities.
He also said Citizens United did not make the required “clear showing” that it would ultimately prevail, and fell “decidedly short” in attempting to show it would suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction.
“The court cannot find a specific future threat that the Attorney General will prohibit plaintiffs from soliciting in New York as a result of their refusal to disclose their major donor information,” Stein wrote.
Citizens United President David Bossie and the group’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for Schneiderman, had no immediate comment.
Citizens United was the plaintiff in the landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited independent spending by corporations and labor unions in election campaigns.
The case is Citizens United et al v. Schneiderman, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-03703.