You are here:

Nonprofit Law/speaking at candidate rallies

Advertisement


Question
I'm on the Board of a 501c3 and the founder of one of our campaigns wants to speak at the re-election rally for a City Council Candidate.  Specifically, we have been working to get zoo elephants released to a sanctuary and this city council person was helpful in trying to get an ordinance passed. It is permission for a representative from our 501c3 speak about how helpful the city council person has been at a re-election rally?  She would not specifically ask people to cast their vote for her.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Answer
The founder of one of your campaigns has, as much as any other person in the United States, the right to speak and endorse any candidate for office.  However, the founder may not, in that speech indicate that she is representing, in the speech, the 501(c)(3) organization.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3)organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political
campaign activity. http://goo.gl/eObrFJ

Later in that that fact sheet we see:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
The political campaign intervention prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization.
---End of Excerpt---

They then give examples.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.  

Nonprofit Law

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Harvey Mechanic

Expertise

I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at Harvey108@hotmail.com I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "site:allexperts.com/q/nonprofit" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.

Experience

I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.

Education/Credentials

B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.


©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.