How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question

Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88677
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is there any limits for political involvement of a Not For

Resolved Question:

Is there any limits for political involvement of a Not For Profit Organization in dealing with Foreign countries (not American)?
Submitted: 1 year ago via Cornell Legal Info Institute.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

A US Non-Profit entity cannot conduct political activities, this includes domestic and foreign political activities. Furthermore, lobbying activities cannot be a substantial part of a charitable organization’s total activities, including foreign political lobbying. The IRS makes no distinction between US and foreign political activities.

When looking at what a non-profit can do, as they are a US non-profit, the US non-profit laws apply even when they deal with foreign countries.

In IRC 501(c)(3), lobbying is described as "carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation," while political activity is described as "participat[ing] in, or interven[ing] in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." In short, IRC 501(c)(3) organizations may take sides with respect to political issues, but not political candidates.

 

Organizations that make lobbying a very substantial part of their activities are often advised not to apply for federal tax-exempt status under IRC 501(c)(3), which prescribes strict limits to this type of activity, but use another classification. Although this means you lose some advantages associated with IRC 501(c)(3) status, it also frees the organization from the significant limits on lobbying and political activity imposed on IRC 501(c)(3) organizations.

 

IRC 4911(d). Influencing legislation

(1) General rule

Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2), for purposes of this section, the term ''influencing legislation'' means -

(A) any attempt to influence any legislation through an attempt to affect the opinions of the general public or any segment thereof, and
(B) any attempt to influence any legislation through communication with any member or employee of a legislative body, or with any government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of the legislation.

(2) Exceptions

For purposes of this section, the term ''influencing legislation'', with respect to an organization, does not include -

(A) making available the results of nonpartisan analysis, study, or research;
(B) providing of technical advice or assistance (where such advice would otherwise constitute the influencing of legislation) to a governmental body or to a committee or other subdivision thereof in response to a written request by such body or subdivision, as the case may be;
(C) appearances before, or communications to, any legislative body with respect to a possible decision of such body which might affect the existence of the organization, its powers and duties, tax-exempt status, or the deduction of contributions to the organization;
(D) communications between the organization and its bona fide members with respect to legislation or proposed legislation of direct interest to the organization and such members, other than communications described in paragraph (3); and
(E) any communication with a governmental official or employee, other than -

(i) a communication with a member or employee of a legislative body (where such communication would otherwise constitute the influencing of legislation), or
(ii) a communication the principal purpose of which is to influence legislation.

(3) Communications with members

(A) A communication between an organization and any bona fide member of such organization to directly encourage such member to communicate as provided in paragraph (1)(B) shall be treated as a communication described in paragraph (1)(B).
(B) A communication between an organization and any bona fide member of such organization to directly encourage such member to urge persons other than members to communicate as provided in either subparagraph (A) or subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall be treated as a communication described in paragraph (1)(A).

IRC 4911(e)(2). Legislation

The term ''legislation'' includes action with respect to Acts, bills, resolutions, or similar items by the Congress, any State legislature, any local council, or similar governing body, or by the public in a referendum, initiative, constitutional amendment, or similar procedure.

Lobbying is divided into two categories [as given by IRC 4911(d)(1)(A) and IRC 4911(d)(1)(B) above]:

Grass roots lobbying
Any attempt to influence any legislation through an effort to affect the opinions of the general public or any segment thereof.
Direct lobbying
Any attempt to influence any legislation through communication with any member or employee of a legislative body or with any government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation.

The distinction between grass roots lobbying and direct lobbying is important because the rules given by IRC 501(h) set spending limits for all lobbying activities combined, and also specifically for grass roots lobbying.

 

"Political activity" is not defined in the law regulating tax-exempt organizations with more detail that in IRC 501(c)(3), where it is "participat[ing] in, or interven[ing] in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." However, "political expenditure" is defined in further detail. Note, however, that 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations may lose their tax-exempt recognition for any political activity, and not just for making political expenditures. Therefore, the definition of a political expenditure given here should only be taken as a rough guide to what is most clearly considered political activity.

IRC 4955 (d) Political expenditure

For purposes of this section -

(1) In general

The term ''political expenditure'' means any amount paid or incurred by a section 501(c)(3) organization in any participation in, or intervention in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

(2) Certain other expenditures included

In the case of an organization which is formed primarily for purposes of promoting the candidacy (or prospective candidacy) of an individual for public office (or which is effectively controlled by a candidate or prospective candidate and which is availed of primarily for such purposes), the term ''political expenditure'' includes any of the following amounts paid or incurred by the organization:

(A) Amounts paid or incurred to such individual for speeches or other services.
(B) Travel expenses of such individual.
(C) Expenses of conducting polls, surveys, or other studies, or preparing papers or other materials, for use by such individual.
(D) Expenses of advertising, publicity, and fundraising for such individual.
(E) Any other expense which has the primary effect of promoting public recognition, or otherwise primarily accruing to the benefit, of such individual.

IRC 501(c)(3) organizations that engage in any political activity may at the discretion of the IRS either immediately lose their tax-exempt status recognition, or be compelled to pay fines. These take the form of excise taxes, described in IRC 4955, levied against both the organization itself and the organization managers responsible for the illegal activity.

 

 


Thank you so much for using JustAnswer.com. I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered. PLEASE use REPLY to EXPERT if you would like more information or if you feel something was not included in your answer.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO XXXXX CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your legal advice. The part you referred to is dealing with organization that is conducting their business in USA. My question is dealing with a foreign country, WE are "Iowa Forum for Peace and Democracy". Our members think that the law permis us to deal politically with the internal affairs of a Foreign country..i.e. Supporting uprising, make donations to oppositions parties and all efforts that may lead to overthrow a government as far such effort leads to democratic transformation!!!???

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

Please re-read my response. The IRS treats a non-profit activities no different whether they are acting in the US or whether they are acting in foreign countries. The IRC applies to activities both domestic and foreign. Thus, the same prohibitions on US activities would apply to foreign activities as well for a non-profit.

Also, supporting uprisings would cause Homeland Security to get involved quickly and that means the IRS would be all over the organization and seeking to revoke its non-profit 501c3 status. You need to follow the same laws above when dealing in foreign matters.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88677
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Law Educator, Esq. and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.