Bryant signs donor privacy bill into law

The donor privacy bill has been signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant. The legislation was passed by the House and the Senate and later received scrutiny over the law that some said would bring about a regression in campaign finance transparency. The law will prohibit state agencies from requesting or releasing donor information from all charitable groups organized under section 501 of the federal tax law. 

“This bill is the biggest step backward in transparency and accountability since the first campaign finance laws were passed two generations ago,” said Blount.

RELATED: Debated donor privacy bill on Governor’s desk

Blount explained the difference between a 501 (c) 3 organization and a 501 (c) 4 organization saying that the 501 (c) 3 organizations are “true” charitable organizations that are not allowed to bring politics into the picture.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy commended Governor Bryant for signing the legislation saying it will protect and ensure the privacy of individuals who donate to charitable causes in Mississippi.

“We are very proud that Gov. Bryant has signed into law a piece of legislation that reinforces the American tradition of anonymous speech and the freedom of association to which citizens are entitled,” said Jon Pritchett, President, and CEO of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. “Many on the left oppose this bill because they want to know who funds their opposition so they can bring pressure to bear on them and suppress their speech with coercion and harassment. Mississippi has now proudly defended the rights of citizens to support causes about which they care deeply.”

Dr. Jameson Taylor, Vice President for Policy at MCPP said the bill allows a nonprofit to defend itself in court if its confidential donor list is leaked by a rogue government agency or bureaucrat.

“The enemies of free speech and free association are making our political environment toxic by seeking to silence and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them,” said Taylor. “That is why this legislation is so essential and we thank Lt. Governor Reeves and Speaker Gunn for their work to get this important bill to the Governor’s desk.”

MCPP cited a poll saying that protecting the privacy of those who donate to nonprofits is widely popular across the state with polling data finding that 81 percent of voters, including 91 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents, and 69 percent of Democrats, support a law to protect the personal information of such donors.