California can’t force Koch group to disclose donors’ names: judge rules

California can’t force Koch group to disclose donors’ names: judge rules

Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a conservative advocacy organization founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, scored a major victory on Thursday when a federal judge ruled that California couldn’t force it to disclose the names of its donors.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real agreed with the foundation’s argument that the state’s need to use the donors’ names and other information for potential fraud probes is not more important than the need to ensure donors’ privacy.

Derek Shaffer, an attorney representing Americans for Prosperity, welcomed the federal judge’s decision. He stressed that the decision would enable American citizens to retain their freedom, even when government exceeds its limits.

Kristin Ford, a spokesperson for Harris, said, “We are disappointed in Judge Real’s ruling and intend to appeal. The filing of the Schedule B is a long-standing requirement that has helped attorneys general for more than a decade protects taxpayers against fraud.”

The Koch-backed organization was asked to disclose the names of its donors in 2014, by California A.G. Kamala Harris, a Democrat who is now running for U.S. Senate. The organization declined to disclose the names, and challenged Harris’ power in the legal court of justice.

The state attorney general’s office was quick to declare that it would appeal the ruling in a higher court.