Key Alerts for Section and Branch Leaders
ASCE and Elections
As Election Day draws near, it is important to remember the Internal Revenue Service's guidelines on 501(c)(3) organizations, such as ASCE, regarding involvement in political activities. We applaud Section and Branch efforts to engage individual ASCE members in public policy issues and the election process. However, before your Section or Branch invites a candidate to speak at a Section meeting or becomes involved in any other election-related activities, you should be aware of important rules to avoid jeopardizing ASCE's tax exempt status.
Specific IRS Rules for 501(c)3s
As a 501(c)(3) organization, ASCE and any of its related organizations (including Sections and Branches) are not allowed to participate in campaigns for or against a candidate for political office, or to endorse ANY candidates for election or provide services of any kind (including publicity) to an individual candidate that are not offered to all candidates for the same office. These restrictions apply to elections at the state and local levels as well as at the federal level. Not adhering to these rules can result in loss of tax exempt status for ASCE and its Sections and Branches.
Please visit the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=120703,00.html for more information and for checklists when planning events, such as candidate forums or invitations for candidates to speak at meetings. Also, visit ASCE's Government Relations website at http://www.asce.org/Government-Relations/Government-Relations/ and read Ten Ways to Get Involved in Elections.
For additional information or clarification on what is and is not acceptable, please contact Lauren Bailey, ASCE's Manager of State Government Relations, by email or (202) 204-2500 x183.