Responsibilities of the President
Summary of the Law
In order to maintain their tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3), private colleges and universities must not engage in, or interfere with, political campaign or lobbying activities. Failure to follow these proscriptions could result in loss of tax-exempt status for the institution, or imposition of an excise tax. The university cannot endorse any particular candidate. For a more complete explanation of the prohibitions from the IRS, please reference the above Legislative and Political activities link.
No candidates running for election are to be invited for anything without express permission of the President. The President has this oversight to help ensure tax compliance as noted above, as well as compliance with Federal Election Committee rules (11 CFR 110.13) as to the appearance of political candidates. This requirement is that any debate on campus must include at least two candidates, and the staging does not promote or advance one candidate over another.
- Charities, Churches and Educational Organizations: Political Campaign Intervention: IRS web page with fact sheet, news release and reports on this topic.
Election Year Activities and the Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention for Section 501(c)(3) Organizations Feb. 2006 FS-2006-17 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is releasing this fact sheet to provide information to help section 501(c)(3) organizations stay in compliance with the federal tax law. Many of the types of political intervention activities addressed in the fact sheet were those that came under scrutiny during the 2004 election cycle. The contents reflect the IRS interpretation of tax laws enacted by Congress, Treasury regulations, and court decisions.
Political Activity Compliance Initiative: The IRS will follow these procedures to address potential political activity by section 501(c)(3) organizations during the 2006 election cycle.The procedures are designed to address violations by 501(c)(3) and to educate charitable organizations on the prohibition on political activity.
- Political Campaign Related Activities of and at Colleges and Universities
(ACE September 2006 paper by Hogan and Hartson)
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links checked and updated 09/13/10 TOL