It is important that all members of the Siena community are aware of the restrictions that the federal tax laws place on tax-exempt organizations like Siena College. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are 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. This prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level. Since violations of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of the College’s tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes, Siena employees should be sure to take all necessary precautions before engaging in activity that may be deemed to be political campaign intervention.
Political campaign intervention includes any and all activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position, verbal or written, made by or on behalf of the College in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention. Distributing statements prepared by others, including through the use of links on our website, that favor or oppose any candidate for public office may also violate the prohibition. Allowing a candidate to use Siena’s assets or facilities, including for on-campus appearances or radio interviews, will constitute a violation if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity. Although Siena may legally engage in some activities to promote voter registration, encourage voter participation and provide voter education, we must be careful not to engage in such activity if it favors or opposes any candidate for public office.
Certain activities will require an in-depth evaluation of all the facts and circumstances, as well as the relevant law, in order to determine whether they result in political campaign intervention. Siena employees are therefore encouraged to contact the Office of the College Counsel for advice before engaging in any activity on behalf of the College that involves a campaign in an upcoming election.
More information can be found through the IRS website.