Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nonprofit Law Podcast #45: Election Season

Election Season

Download: Nonprofit Law Podcast #45 (mp3, 10:14)



Tim Mooney… Welcome to the Nonprofit Law Podcast
Your guide to the laws impacting nonprofits.
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Election season brings out the advocacy issues for nonprofits

- Some churches are about to get in a heap of trouble...
Alliance Defense Fund is trying to take on the IRS and the tax prohibition on electioneering.
It's probably going to cost some churches, but more importantly the hubris will impact the church goers
The First Amedment is alive and well, but it doesn't simultaneously create the right to tax deductibility of donations. That's a privilege.

- Campaign finance laws were thankfully overturned, and here's why...

In 2000, Congress passed McCain-Feingold, or BCRA - it contained a well-intentioned but overbroad provision that essentially banned any broadcast advertisement that mentioned anyone running for federal office within 60 days of the November elections.
The Supreme Court overturned it because it banned all ads in those windows, including ones that are purely within free speech categories - like lobbying
When I lobbied supporters and authors of this law, I was constantly asked what kind of things could possibly come up within 60 days of an election that nonprofits and other corporations would want to weigh in on?
Well... we all just experienced it - the rescue bill was firmly within the 60 day window and without the wisdom of the Court (a phrase I do not often use) an election law would have stopped organizations from weighing in on the bill via broadcast ads.
Even supporters of BCRA were uncomfortable on this point...


Election Law Blog
on the BCRA 60 day windows
Action Urged Against Politicking Pastors - The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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This podcast provides general information about legal topics but it is not a complete discussion of all legal issues that arise in relation to nonprofits nor is it a substitute for legal advice. This podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship. This is general legal information and the contributors make no warranties regarding the general legal information provided in this podcast , and disclaim liability for damages resulting from its use to the fullest extent permitted by the applicable law