Legal Do's and Don'ts

Permissible Election Activities 501(c)(3) public charity organizations are strictly forbidden from engaging in any political activity in support of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The IRS will consider all of the facts and circumstances surrounding an activity to determine whether the activity violates this prohibition. However, 501(c)(3) public charity organizations can engage in nonpartisan voter education activity and in a limited amount of lobbying. 501(c)(3)s MAY:

  1. Engage in limited lobbying, including work on ballot measures
  2. Conduct nonpartisan public education and training sessions about participation in the political process
  3. Educate all of the candidates on public interest issues
  4. Publish legislative scorecards (with certain restrictions)
  5. Prepare candidate questionnaires and create voter guides (with certain restrictions)
  6. Canvass the public on issues
  7. Sponsor candidate debates (with certain restrictions)
  8. Rent at fair market value mailing lists and facilities to other organizations, legislators, and candidates (with certain restrictions)
  9. Conduct nonpartisan get-out-the-vote and voter registration drives
  10. Establish a controlled 501(c)(4) organization
  11. Work with all political parties to get its positions included on the party’s platform (with certain restrictions)

501(c)(3)s MAY NOT:

  1. Endorse candidates for public office
  2. Make any campaign contributions
  3. Make expenditures on behalf of candidates
  4. Restrict rental of their mailing lists and facilities to certain candidates
  5. Ask candidates to sign pledges on any issue (tacit endorsement)
  6. Increase the volume or amount of incumbent criticism as election time approaches
  7. Publish or communicate anything that explicitly or implicitly favors or opposes a candidate


04/20/2018 - 17:09

WASHINGTON – On April 20, 1999, two students in their senior year entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and opened fired, killing 13 people and injuring 24 others. In the 19 years following the tragic shooting, the nation has mourned the loss of over 140 students and educators in school shootings, including those slain in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida. As...

04/24/2018 - 14:33

WASHINGTON – Data released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights finds that Black students in the United States continue to be restrained, suspended and arrested at higher rates than all other students. The findings, a result from a national survey of all public schools during the 2015–2016 school year, reports that 31 percent of Black students were...

05/21/2018 - 14:19

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The League of Women Voters of Missouri and the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City Chapters of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) are seeking immediate relief to protect Missouri voters from being disenfranchised in the 2018 primary and general elections as a result of the state’s ongoing violation of federal voting rights law.

Today, Dēmos,...

04/17/2018 - 15:12

Secretary of State, Department of Revenue in Knowing Violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The League of Women Voters of Missouri and the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City Chapters of the A. Philip Randolph Institute today...

04/06/2018 - 15:06

Washington – Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) carried out an immigration raid at a meat packing plant in Grainger County, Tennessee, resulting in administrative arrests and detainment for more than 100...

03/08/2018 - 12:07


Nailah Summers
(305) 393-2521,
Misha Cornelius
(510) 318-1020,

MIAMI – Today, youth justice organizations and...

03/09/2018 - 17:30

March 9, 2018

Nailah Summers
(305) 393-2521,

Zerline Hughes
(202) 487-0967,



04/13/2018 - 14:54

VOTE v. Louisiana, a Case Filed by People on Probation or Parole Demanding their Right to Vote, Will Move Closer to Victory as Plaintiffs Prepare to Take Fight to Louisiana Supreme Court and the Legislature

Baton Rouge – Today, the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the First Circuit affirmed dismissal of litigation in VOTE v. Louisiana, which challenges...

05/21/2018 - 17:05

WASHINGTON – On Friday, May 19, a school shooting claimed the lives of 10 people and injured at least 10 others at a Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. The shooter, seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, walked on campus and opened fired killing eight students and two teachers. As state policymakers like Governor Greg Abbott begin to coordinate community...

03/13/2018 - 11:57

WASHINGTON – In the wake of Atty. Gen. Jeff Session’s announcement today to to “improve” school safety and better enforce existing gun laws, Advancement Project’s national office released the following statement:

“The writing is no longer on the wall; it’s on the books. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ announcement today to award lucrative grants to police...