Advocacy and Free Speech

Advocacy and Free Speech

“ASAE opposes expanding the definition of candidate-related political activity by tax-exempt organizations to include candidate forums and issue-related communications sent out close to elections. Recent efforts to restrict political activity by 501(c)(4) social welfare groups would regulate far more speech and advocacy than is warranted and could create a chilling effect on the role nonprofit organizations play in fostering civic engagement and democracy. ASAE also opposes any extension of new restrictions on 501(c)(4) political activity to trade associations and professional societies.” -ASAE Board Approved Position Statement #1

Johnson Amendment

President Trump has promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a longstanding law that prohibits churches and other 501(c)(3) groups from endorsing political candidates and otherwise engaging in political activity. ASAE is part of a coalition of nonprofit organizations that opposes attempts to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment, which safeguards public trust in 501(c)(3) charities.

Prior Approval

ASAE is helping to lead a coalition to address the Federal Election Commission’s prior-approval requirement for trade associations. The Prior Approval Reform Coalition is working to achieve legislation to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to eliminate the requirement that trade associations have prior approval from member companies before soliciting their eligible employees. The coalition believes the requirement is inequitable and restricts First Amendment rights. In addition, ensuring compliance with the regulation is costly and burdensome.

In July 2016, the House passed an amendment that would rescind the prior-approval requirement. The coalition is working on a Senate strategy.