South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Limits on Fund Raising Phone Calls by Non-Profits Does Not Violate Free Speech
Description

Appeals court upheld a regulation by the Federal Trade Commission that imposes limits on fund raising calls made to residences by professional telefunders working for non-profit organizations.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

First Amendment; Telemarketing; Non-profit Organizations; Regulation

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

The Telemarketing Act instructed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to impose rules prohibiting deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices. In 2001, Congress expanded the FTC’s jurisdiction to include charitable solicitations. In 2003 the FTC finalized new regulations imposing certain restrictions on professional telefunders calling on behalf of charities. Calls by charities from “in house” are not restricted. Some non-profits sued the FTC, contending that the restrictions violate the First Amendment. The district court held for the FTC; the charities appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The Telemarketing Sales Rule that extends to professional telemarketers who solicit contributions for non-profits does not exceed the authority of the FTC. The government has the right to protect consumers from fraud and to protect residential privacy. The Rule was narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest and thus did not violate the free speech rights of the non-profit organizations.

Citation  

National Federation of the Blind v. Federal Trade Comm., 420 F.3d 331 (4th Cir., 2005)

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