Salt Lake Tribune: Why we’re suing the state to protect free speech (In the News)

Connor Boyack and Billy Hesterman

While it makes sense to require disclosure from organizations whose primary or sole purpose is political — as they directly affect government processes and outcomes — the bill expanded the reporting requirements to include organizations whose political advocacy is infrequent and, more often than not, focused on advocacy and education.

That’s why HB 43 poses a problem. Organizations such as ours engage in a number of public interest activities, such as holding public forums, publishing educational materials and conducting original research. This is our primary purpose; by law, political advocacy on our part can be and is only a limited aspect of our overall effort.

Now imagine our donors, who have no interest in supporting our lobbying efforts. Mr. Smith might give $10,000 toward our general operations as a supporter of an aspect of our work, and neither he nor we intend to use that money for a political purpose. Nevertheless, under current Utah law, should our organizations spend more than $750 in a given year on any unrelated political advocacy, we must also disclose Mr. Smith’s identity and personal information.

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