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U.S. House Committee Seeks Information on Nonprofits’ Political Campaign Intervention

August 23, 2023 10:42 AM | Shelly Dupre (Administrator)

The U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee recently published a “request for information” (RFI) about “political campaign intervention” by 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits and 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. Federal tax law prohibits 501(c)(3) nonprofits from engaging in partisan election-related activities like endorsing or opposing candidates for public office or making financial contributions to political campaigns. However, longstanding guidance from the Internal Revenue Service makes clear that 501(c)(3) organizations can participate in nonpartisan voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the-vote work.

The Ways and Means Committee’s request for information seeks feedback on a series of questions, which focus on:

1.     Whether there is a need to update definitions and guidance on nonprofit “political campaign intervention”;

2.     Potential new reporting requirements for nonprofits on their election-related activities, potentially including new reporting on permissible nonpartisan voter engagement activities of 501(c)(3) nonprofits;

3.     Identification of tax-exempt nonprofits whose voter engagement work or other programs and services have the effect of favoring one candidate or political party;

4.     Information about the influence of foreign nationals on the election-related programs of 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organizations; and

5.     Specific examples of 501(c)(3) nonprofits that have misused donor funds in ways that benefit nonprofit executives or are inconsistent with donors’ intent.

While the committee’s request for information letter seeks information about activities of tax-exempt nonprofits that benefit any candidate or political party, the letter concludes with several examples of nonprofits’ election-related activities that the committee chairs suggest have benefitted Democratic candidates. The vast majority of 501(c)(3) nonprofits that engage in election-related activities do so in a nonpartisan way with intent of maximizing voter participation in their communities and without any expectation that their activities will benefit particular candidates or political parties.

Louisiana Alliance for Nonprofits is working with national partners on this issue. Comments are due to the Ways and Means Committee by September 4. The committee is accepting comments by email at

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