“These really are some of the big issues in society, the fact that institutions have an opinion is not surprising, and, in fact, it’s entirely allowed,” said Susie Brown, public policy director at Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The council helps educate and train nonprofits about the laws that would govern their tax-exempt status.
“We, as 501 (c) (3) nonprofits have a deal with the federal government,” Brown said.
The deal is that nonprofits, including churches, are not allowed to take part in “political campaign activity.” That’s complex to define precisely, but the IRS sets up guidelines that prohibit nonprofits from directly or indirectly participating in political campaigns for candidates or parties.
“Although the candidates and amendments are on the same ballot, they are different issues under the law. Ballot measure questions are issues similar to any other public policy question,” Brown said.
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