Citizens United Loses Effort to Block Release of Donor Identities

U.S. district court judge Sidney Stein has refused to impose a preliminary injunction blocking New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman's efforts to force Citizens United, a 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for limited government, free enterprise and strong families, to disclose more information about its major donors, Reuters reports.

The organization had argued in Citizens United et al v. Schneiderman that the New York State attorney general's interpretation of a 2006 state regulation on donor disclosures violated its First Amendment rights to free speech and association, invaded the privacy of donors who wish to remain anonymous, and risked a backlash against donors who support conservative causes. On Monday, however, Stein ruled that the policy was substantially related to important government interests in enforcing charitable solicitation laws and protecting residents from illegitimate charities. Stein also wrote that Citizens United did not make the required "clear showing" that it would ultimately prevail and fell "decidedly short" in attempting to show how it would suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction.

Citizen United's attorney Donald McGahn, a partner at Jones Day, said the organization plans to pursue the rest of its lawsuit against Schneiderman and demonstrate that he is acting beyond his authority.

In a statement released by his office, Schneiderman said the "victory over Citizens United reaffirms some of our most basic responsibilities in overseeing the nonprofit sector."