Today, Judge Stein dismissed claims by Citizens United challenging New York’s reporting requirements for charities in the state (see our previous coverage here). Citizens United challenged the New York Attorney General’s requirement that charities file an un-redacted Schedule B, a form listing the names and contribution amounts of the charity’s donors, before receiving a license to solicit contributions in the state. Judge Stein found that the complaint did not allege that that law failed to advance important government interests :
[T]he U.S. Supreme Court has noted that a state “may constitutionally require fundraisers to disclose certain financial information to the State” in order to help detect fraud. The Court has also described “recordkeeping, reporting, and disclosure requirements” as “an essential means of gathering the data necessary to detect violations” of relevant laws. No facts alleged in the complaint plausibly suggest that the attorney general’s disclosure requirement is unusually divorced from the state’s important governmental interests.
The corresponding burden to Citizens United was, the Court found, not sufficiently pleaded:
Allegedly, plaintiffs’ donors “reasonably fear public backlash, financial harm, and worse, should their support of politically contentious and controversial causes become known publicly. That is so because of the controversial nature of both Plaintiffs themselves and the issues on which they speak.” “On information and belief,” plaintiffs allege that their “donors’ fears are well grounded and evidentiary support will be adduced for them.”
These allegations fail to approach either the requisite specificity or severity. Plaintiffs provide no factual background or support for their conclusory assertions. And their pledge to “adduce” “evidentiary support” in the future to substantiate the alleged “fears” of their donors is useless in the plausibility-pleading era.