Mitigating the risks of political activity
It’s election season, and now is a good time to evaluate your compliance with the laws governing political activities on a federal, state and regional level. The risks associated with mismanagement of these activities -- including criminal penalties and civil fines -- can be avoided by being aware of the campaign finance, lobbying and tax rules that apply and taking the proper steps to comply.
Political activity can help support and advance the mission of an organization and build relationships within the community, but deregulation of political law has now presented new issues and considerations for the organizations involved. Our recommendations to help mitigate the risks associated with these changes:
- Involve the board and management with the review and approval of any and all political activities, including distribution of funds from corporate treasury
- Create or update written policies and procedures on political activities for the organization, ensuring that all existing and new employees receive both a written copy and training
- Monitor and keep record of not only who provides a contribution, but also which candidate or organization receives it. Ensure there are no contribution restrictions that limit or prohibit the contribution and be cognizant of disclosure requirements
- Be aware of PAC requirements and registration/reporting requirements related to lobbying and ensure that information about lobbying efforts is available to the public
- If your organization is a government contractor, consider the restrictions or obligations of “pay to play” laws before engaging in political activities