As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, there are many rules that PFLAGers and chapters must follow during an election. PFLAG chapters may engage in lobbying activities that influence the outcome of legislation but are not permitted to engage in political/electoral activities that influence the outcome of an election for a candidate or political party.
Please review the following list of Dos and Don’ts that will help you navigate this year’s election season. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Diego Sanchez, Director of Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships, who can help ensure that you’re following all regulations.
**These “Dos and Don’ts” only apply when you’re advocating in an official PFLAG capacity, whether at PFLAG chapter events, meetings, etc. You may work for candidates or political parties on your own time, just be sure that it’s not connected to PFLAG in an official capacity.**
- Attend candidate forums and town hall meetings
- Ask both candidates about LGBTQ issues and gear the debate towards them
- Distribute copies of candidate speeches or other remarks in regular newspapers
- Give equal opportunity for candidates to appear and for coverage
- Conduct nonpartisan voter registration drives
- Educate the public about issues relating to the election, without mention of a particular candidate, political party, or their respective positions on the issues
- For help, see state-by-state registration information at Rock! The Vote
- Endorse, or oppose, in any way, any political party or candidate running for local, state, or federal office, including PFLAG members running for office while representing PFLAG
- Wear political propaganda to PFLAG meetings or when otherwise representing PFLAG (examples include clothing with a candidate’s name, slogan, or anything that can be directly linked to a political party)
- Distribute candidate statements or make public comments about them, either at meetings or electronically via PFLAG email accounts or PFLAG social media.
- Issue candidate questionnaires, because PFLAG is an organization with a relatively narrow focus.
- Invite a candidate, or their staff, to a PFLAG meeting to recruit volunteers or give out membership lists.
These guidelines are provided based on previous articles concerning non-profit lobbying. It is a distillation of a complex set of rules/regulations and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If in doubt about the legality of a planned activity, please contact Diego Sanchez.