Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Internet Katrina donations - whites and non-Jews only

This is vile. I was visiting The Volokh Conspiracy to get Eugene's et al comments on today's Roberts hearing as well as the pledge case. What I found was this pdf and Eugene's somewhat surprising take on it. He doesn't actually come out and say so, but the tone of his questioning hints that maybe the Missouri Attorney General is wrong. Volokh asks,
Charities often choose whom to give money to - sometimes they prefer poor people over rich people, people with children over people without children, women over men, blacks over whites, fellow Baptists over others, or whatever else; sometimes they do this categorically and sometimes they consider various attributes together with other factors. Are charities required to disclose all of these criteria, none of these criteria, or only some of these criteria - and, if the latter, which ones?
Then he continues with his questions:
In Riley v. National Federation of the Blind (1989), the Court struck down a requirement that fundraisers disclose in their pitches what fraction of the donations are used for fundraising expenses. Though the government argued that such a requirement was needed so that people wouldn't be misled into believing that most of their money was going to help the needy - when in reality 90% might end up being used up for expenses - the Court concluded that such a requirement was nonetheless unconstitutional. Given this, would it be constitutional to have a legal rule that requires disclosure of (a & b) non-tax-exempt status or (c & d) racial targeting of the aid?
And finally this question for the missouri AG:
The Missouri AG seems to suggest that it's per se unfair - and thus forbidden by state law - to solicit charitable donations that will benefit only whites, regardless of whether the charity discloses this, see objection (e). Is that really dictated by state law? Is it constitutional? If it is, would it be constitutional for Missouri law to allow fundraising to help blacks or Hispanics or Jews (including secular Jews, to make this an ethnic criterion and not a religious one) and to forbid fundraising to help whites? (I'm not sure whether Missouri law does this, but I'm asking this question hypothetically.)
I think that Eugene's point here is that, vile as it may be, it's probably not against the law, even in Missouri, so, show me.


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