Protecting Related Charities in an Election Year

Protecting Related Charities in an Election Year

By: D. Benson Tesdahl and Robert M. Portman

As this year's election season arrives, associations and social welfare organizations that have related political action committees should review the potential legal and regulatory pitfalls of supporting political candidates. Find out what's allowed—and what isn't—and how to protect your organization from missteps.

Many section 501(c)(6) trade and professional associations and some 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations (SWOs) have a related section 501(c)(3) charity that engages in fundraising and other activities in support of the association's or SWO's educational programs and research.1 And many of these same associations and SWOs also have a related political action committee (PAC) that is used to support political candidates. With an election year upon us, it is important to review the rules and regulations regarding a charity/association/PAC combination and the steps that can be taken to insulate the charity from the political activities of the related association or SWO and its PAC....