How Civil Rights and Liberties Activists Are Taking on Capitol Hill
Published in Fortune
The lobby for civil rights and liberties touches a variety of topics, including labor laws, healthcare, immigration and even tax codes, according to lobbying disclosure statements. But some of the new lobbying efforts reflect issues unique to this administration. For example, The Association of Sanctuary Cities is looking to preserve federal funding for cities that aren’t willing to cooperate with immigration enforcement officials.
The increase in the filings extends beyond groups that are lobbying. There are even more groups that can lobby. The IRS is seeing an uptick in 501(c)(4) registrations which allow organizations to lobby and engage in political campaigning, said Abby Levine, who counsels nonprofits on how they can legally advocate through the Bolder Advocacy Program at Alliance for Justice.
Organizations with c4 status can engage in electoral work and accept large amounts of money without disclosing donors.
After the 2016 election, big-name groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU received large donations, which they are using to dramatically expand their work. But not all c4 groups are well heeled, Levine explained. She is working with small upstarts that have limited resources but are looking to get their message across in their states or on the Hill and at the ballot box.
“It takes both the inside game and the outside game for policy to change and legislative action to happen,” Levine said.