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Mar
01

From the Texas PTA – What does the IRS say about Electioneering?

Good afternoon, Council Presidents and Field Service Representatives.  It’s election season, and many eyes are on school districts and education groups about electioneering.  Attorney General Ken Paxton has already issued “cease and desist” letters.

Texas PTA contacted legal counsel who provided the information below – IRS Regulations.

Some things to remember:

  • For decades, Texas PTA has encouraged “get out the vote” campaigns and voter registration initiatives.  The foundation of our advocacy efforts is built on educating voters and increasing the number of those who vote.  Because we are a membership association that advocates, encouraging people to exercise their right to vote is just one example of what makes us wonderfully different than other unaffiliated parent groups.
  • So long as PTAs are not endorsing specific candidates either directly or indirectly (sending a PTA communication or forwarding a communication from PTA that in any way can be construed as endorsement), our association is well within its 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status to encourage our members to vote.

If there is ever a doubt about whether a communication crosses the lines of actual, perceived or implied electioneering, it is always best to ere on the side of caution and seek input from Texas PTA.

Thanks for all you do, and if there were ever a time and great need to get more people to the polls for this Primary Election, it’s now.  Texas PTA urges if you have not already done so, please share the Governor and Lt. Governor responses with as many people as possible.  https://www.txpta.org/candidate-questionnaire

Subject: IRS Regulations

The following link should help PTAs discern between activities prohibited and not prohibited under the IRS regulations regarding electioneering.

The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations | Internal Revenue Service

The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations | Internal Revenue Service

The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) …

Political Campaign Activity by section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations

 

Specifically related to communications directed to get-out-the vote, so long as it is done in a nonpartisan manner and without favoring one candidate over another, it is allowed.  See as follows:

“Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances.  For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

“On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.”

Kyle Ward, CAE

Texas PTA Executive Director

512.320.9801 (Direct Office) 512.705.7404 (Mobile)

www.txpta.org

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sbisdcpta.net/2018/03/01/from-the-texas-pta-what-does-the-irs-say-about-electioneering/