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AFP files first ever amicus brief in Ryan case

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WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Jan. 23, 2003) - As reported in last week's eWire, AFP has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ryan vs. Telemarketing Associates case that is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in March. The case marks the first time in AFP history that the association has filed a 'friend of the court' brief, underscoring the importance of the case to the fundraising profession and entire charitable sector.

In its brief (which can be linked to below), AFP argues that attempts by the states to regulate fundraising costs through imprecise formulas which establish arbitrary limits on how much a charity can spend on fundraising are unreasonable, unworkable, deceptive and do not pass constitutional muster. There is no connection between fraud and fundraising costs, and no one cost ratio or limit can account for all of the various factors that affect fundraising expenses for the 800,000 charities in the United States.

While AFP believes that the state of Illinois' case violates both the U.S. Constitutional First Amendment and Commerce clause protections for nonprofits, the association feels the key to the case is the undue burdens that arbitrary fundraising limits would place on charities.

'The irony is that while the states are trying to protect legitimate charities, the enactment of impractical and capricious limits would have a dramatically negative impact upon nearly all legitimate and hard-working charities in this country,' said AFP President & CEO Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE.

AFP will continue to monitor the Ryan case very closely and will report to members as soon as the Supreme Court has rendered a decision.


AFP Amicus brief for Ryan case — PDF Format, 253458KB

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