A Charity’s Right to Due Process

Commentary

The state of California is seeking to amend the charitable solicitation law by giving the Office of the Attorney General more authority.  Under Assembly Bill 2327, the Attorney General would be able, under certain conditions, to issue an order to charities or their professional representatives to cease and desist certain activities.  The burden would then shift to that entity to request a hearing.

Comment: These type of actions always raise concerns about due process requirements.  If the party receiving the order must stop pending the hearing, then it seems clear there is a violation of due process. All activity protected by the First Amendment is deemed to be fully protected until an ultimate finding is made.  Some states have similar procedures, whereby simply asking for the hearing delays the imposition of any penalty.

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Fundraising & Nonprofit Report May 2012