“Transparent GMU sued George Mason University when it refused to hand over information about the Charles Koch Foundation”
How dare those evil Koch brothers try to fund higher education programs? They must be stopped!
The College Fix reports:
Court blocks anti-Koch group from getting donor records held by university foundation
The national movement against libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch* has sought records related to their university giving, looking for strings attached to money intended to create programs such as free-market research centers.
Such funds often move through university foundations, but in Virginia those aren’t actually public bodies and thus not subject to public-records law, a judge ruled Thursday.
Transparent GMU sued George Mason University when it refused to hand over information about the Charles Koch Foundation, which donated $10 million as part of a $30 million gift to the public university’s law school to rename it after the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and fund new law programs.
According to Fairfax Circuit Court Judge John Tran, the plaintiffs can’t rely on other states’ laws and court decisions to judge how university foundations are treated under Virginia law.
Tran previously dismissed GMU itself as a defendant in the litigation, but his ruling makes clear that the university still has the responsibility as a public entity “to maintain records of the use of funds and programs it decides to develop.” He also said that records originating with GMU “and subsequently transferred elsewhere” are still subject to public-records law.
But state law is clear on the university foundation’s status, Tran said. He decided against applying legal tests known as “functional equivalent” and “totality of the circumstances” to the question, saying that would “create a new standard in Virginia” that adds to the “plain language” of the statute.
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