Half-time report: donor disclosure bills in the first half of 2021

Half-time report: donor disclosure bills in the first half of 2021

With the first half of the year drawing to a close, this week we take a look back at donor disclosure legislative activity.

Number of bills introduced

State lawmakers have introduced 38 bills dealing with donor disclosure law so far this year. During the same six-month period in 2020 and 2019, lawmakers introduced 47 and 72 bills, respectively.

This year, Democrats have sponsored 16 of the 38 introduced bills — more than Republicans, bipartisan groups, and others. This is similar to what we observed in 2019 and 2020, when Democrats sponsored 34 and 22 bills, respectively.

Number of bills enacted

So far this year, state lawmakers have enacted six donor disclosure bills, about 16% of all introduced bills. This is more than the four bills enacted at the same point in 2020 (9% of all introduced bills). However, in 2019, lawmakers had enacted 13 bills by the end of June, representing 18% of all introduced bills.

Also on our radar: Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta

On April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, a case involving a California law that requires nonprofits to file copies of their IRS 990 forms with the state. This includes Schedule B, which contains the names and addresses of all individuals who donated more than $5,000 to the nonprofit in a given tax year. Although the law does not allow the public access to Schedule B information, court documents show that inadvertent disclosures have occurred. 

In 2014, Americans for Prosperity challenged the law in U.S. district court, triggering a series of legal developments spanning several years. 

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling in the case sometime within the next few weeks. 

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 38 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • California SB686: This bill would require a limited liability company that qualifies as a committee or a sponsor of a committee under the state’s campaign finance laws to file a statement of members with the secretary of state. The statement of members must include a list of all persons who have a membership interest in the limited liability company of at least 10% or who made a cumulative capital contribution of at least $1,000 to the company after it qualified as a committee or sponsor of a committee, or within the 2 calendar years before it qualified.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • An Assembly Elections Committee hearing is scheduled for June 30.

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