1-Hour Program

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Nonprofits have become vital participants in elections, praised for nonpartisanship by some and derided as vehicles for “dark money” by others.  With the 2022 midterm elections rapidly approaching, nonprofit organizations will again be involved in a range of election-related activities.  As a result, it is crucial that nonprofit organizations—including 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(6) groups—and corporate donors understand the laws governing participation in advocacy and politics.  Federal tax laws, combined with frequently-evolving federal, state, and local campaign finance laws, present a myriad of potential compliance issues for nonprofit organizations engaging in elections, as well as for their corporate donors.   

In this One-Hour Briefing, a panel led by a Nielsen Merksamer attorney will discuss key challenges that arise when nonprofits get involved in politics and share how such organizations, donors, and their corporate partners can avoid the most common pitfalls. 

Topics will include:

  • The types of tax-exempt organizations that can be politically active and the different rules pertaining to each (20 minutes)
  • The nature of political activities in which nonprofits can engage, including contributions, ballot measure activities, independent expenditures, and electioneering communications (15 minutes)
  • Possibilities for generic or nonpartisan activities, such as candidate debates and forums, get-out-the-vote drives, and voter registration activities (10 minutes)
  • Donor and transparency perspectives: when public officials behest contributions, the Supreme Court’s view of identifying donors, and campaign finance and donor disclosure requirements (10 minutes)
  • Essential takeaways (5 minutes)  


Program Level: Update

Intended Audience: In-house counsel, outside attorneys, accountants, compliance, campaign finance and other allied professionals associated and working with nonprofit organizations

Prerequisites: None

Advanced Preparation: None


Credit Details

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