BA Experts: Nonprofits Can Comment on DACA - Alliance for Justice

BA Experts: Nonprofits Can Comment on DACA


Bolder Advocacy

Washington, D.C., September 6, 2017 – The Trump Administration’s action to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has alarmed nonprofits whose work touches the immigrant community.  Many 501(c)(3) nonprofits may be wondering what public positions they can take on this action, given their nonprofit tax-exempt status. Nikhil Pillai, counsel at Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy program, notes that 501(c)(3)s absolutely may speak out, within limits.

He writes:

“If your 501(c)(3) has any questions about whether it can legally comment on the President’s decision, the short answer is YES, YOU CAN.”

“Federal tax law limits how much lobbying public charities can do. However, lobbying is narrowly defined to require discussion about legislation. Executive branch actions that are not voted on by a legislative body are not considered legislation. Therefore, public charities (and even private foundations) can engage in executive advocacy and speak out about actions the executive branch has taken without having to count those activities and expenses as lobbying.”