Jeopardizing Tax-Deductibility?

Terri Phoenix, Director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, wrote a letter today listing the consequences for LGBTQI-“Two-Spirit” individuals if the constitutional amendment passes next spring. Legally, state agencies are allowed to participate in elections so long as it’s limited to educating voters- like Orange County “educating” voters that, if taxes aren’t raised, Chapel Hill is doomed! Or something like that.

But outright electioneering (i.e., supporting or opposing a candidate, referendum, etc) is prohibited. I asked the university for clarification, but, unless the 501(c)3 section of the federal tax code exempts universities from that electioneering clause (and I can find no evidence to that effect), her sentence, “As such we oppose this legislation” would assuredly fall afoul of that ban which may jeopardize our university’s status as a 501(c)3 non-profit.

I’m still awaiting reply from the university to confirm that 1), UNC is a 501(c)3 (which the website indicates) and 2) confirming that there are no special exemptions for educational organizations in the ban on electioneering.

UPDATE: Some exploration online buttressed my contention that UNC is a 501(c)3 based off of an internal memo, here.

The records of the Internal Revenue Service are reported to us as reflecting the award on June 21, 1929, of federal tax-exempt status to “the University of North Carolina” under section 103(6) of the Revenue Act of 1928.  Section 103(6) of that Act had been carried forward as Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

One thought on “Jeopardizing Tax-Deductibility?

  1. Ryan Reply

    "501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity."

    Nowhere in the relevant IRS code is the word 'initiative' or 'referendum' mentioned. As far as I know, the restriction doesn't apply in this case.

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