Skip to main content

View Diary: Groups targeted by IRS pushed political activity boundaries (135 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  This is not the case. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, VClib, deep info
    But if officers in your organization have to spend any time traveling to and interacting directly with government officials, commissions, testifying before committees, etc. to discuss public policy, you have to either do it as a c4 or as a volunteer
    If you've filed your 501(h) election (something I'm about to do for a group I'm on the board of, incidentally), then you can spend up to some percent of expenditures on lobbying (20% on the first $500K of expenditures)

    By contrast, you actually have a lower ceiling for grassroots lobbying.  eg, you can only spend 25% of that first 20% cap on grassroots lobbying.

    IOW, the code privileges direct lobbying over grassroots lobbying.

    •  The IRS defines "direct" and "indirect" lobbying (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Dallasdoc, deep info

      C3 grassroots lobbying is "indirect",  dealing with legislators, especially those who are not your legislator, on your own is "direct" lobbying  and can only be done as an indvidual or as a c4.  

      My attorney has always been very clear about that.

      "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

      by Betty Pinson on Tue May 28, 2013 at 02:36:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yes, we've had instances (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trumpeter, elwior, Dallasdoc, deep info

        where local GOP'ers tried to trick us into doing direct advocacy and election year activity through our c 3.   In one case, a GOP operative tried to put on a fundraising/community awareness event in our name, offering to give us a lot of money.  At the last minute they changed the literature and advertising for the event to feature someone who was running for re-election to public office.  We called the lawyers and reported them to the IRS.

        Cancer advocacy is so much fun.

        "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

        by Betty Pinson on Tue May 28, 2013 at 02:42:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  at least under the tax code, (0+ / 0-)

        you are absolutely allowed to lobby, directly or indirectly.  There may be a nontax reason for the prohibition (like a lobbying law), but c3s can lobby directly without running afoul of the tax code.

    •  that said, groups are often very wary (0+ / 0-)

      about disclosing lobbying expenses, and may have put it in terms of a strict prohibition as a matter of internal policy.  Maybe it's part of the Charity Navigator-ization of non-profs, where they want to cut back on overhead and non-functional expenses so that donors approve.  Not a bad thing, but it may lead to over-skittishness about lobbying expenses.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site