[Owasp-leaders] Mozilla speaks up. Should OWASP?

Tony Turner tony.turner at owasp.org
Tue Jan 31 18:45:14 UTC 2017


This is far clearer than the previous statement. Thanks Tiffany.

On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 1:42 PM, Tiffany Long <tiffany.long at owasp.org>
wrote:

> This is a concern that will come up repeatedly.  This is, I think, the
> most salient point of understanding what OWASP can and cannot do as an
> organization:
>
> *Issue Advocacy vs. Political Campaign Intervention*
>
> Under federal tax law, section 501(c)(3) organizations may take positions
> on public policy issues, including issues that divide candidates in an
> election for public office.  However, section 501(c)(3) organizations must
> avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign
> intervention.  Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to
> vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the
> statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention
> prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate.  A
> statement can identify a candidate not only by stating the candidate’s name
> but also by other means such as showing a picture of the candidate,
> referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of
> a candidate’s platform or biography.   All the facts and circumstances need
> to be considered to determine if the advocacy is political campaign
> intervention.
>
> Key factors in determining whether a communication results in political
> campaign intervention include the following:
> • Whether  the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given
> public office;
> • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval for one or more
> candidates’ positions and/or actions;
> • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election;
> • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election;
> • Whether the issue addressed in the communication has been raised as an
> issue distinguishing candidates for a given office;
> • Whether the communication is part of an ongoing series of communications
> by the organization on the same issue that are made independent of the
> timing of any election; and
> • Whether the timing of the communication and identification of the
> candidate are related to a non-electoral event such as a scheduled vote on
> specific legislation by an officeholder who also happens to be a candidate
> for public office.
>
> A communication is particularly at risk of political campaign intervention
> when it makes reference to candidates or voting in a specific upcoming
> election.  Nevertheless, the communication must still be considered in
> context before arriving at any conclusions.
>
> Example 14: University O, a section 501(c)(3) organization, prepares and
> finances a full page newspaper advertisement that is published in several
> large circulation newspapers in State V shortly before an election in which
> Senator C is a candidate for nomination in a party primary.  Senator C
> represents State V in the United States Senate.  The advertisement states
> that S. 24, a pending bill in the United States Senate, would provide
> additional opportunities for State V residents to attend college, but
> Senator C has opposed similar measures in the past.  The advertisement ends
> with the statement “Call or write Senator C to tell him to vote for S.
> 24.”  Educational issues have not been raised as an issue distinguishing
> Senator C from any opponent.  S. 24 is scheduled for a vote in the United
> States Senate before the election, soon after the date that the
> advertisement is published in the newspapers.  Even though the
> advertisement appears shortly before the election and identifies Senator
> C’s position on the issue as contrary to O’s position, University O has not
> violated the political campaign intervention prohibition because the
> advertisement does not mention the election or the candidacy of Senator C,
> education issues have not been raised as distinguishing Senator C from any
> opponent, and the timing of the advertisement and the identification of
> Senator C are directly related to the specifically identified legislation
> University O is supporting and appears immediately before the United States
> Senate is scheduled to vote on that particular legislation.  The candidate
> identified, Senator C, is an officeholder who is in a position to vote on
> the legislation.
>
> Example 15: Organization R, a section 501(c)(3) organization that educates
> the public about the need for improved public education, prepares and
> finances a radio advertisement urging an increase in state funding for
> public education in State X, which requires a legislative appropriation.
> Governor E is the governor of State X.  The radio advertisement is first
> broadcast on several radio stations in State X beginning shortly before an
> election in which Governor E is a candidate for re election. The
> advertisement is not part of an ongoing series of substantially similar
> advocacy communications by Organization R on the same issue.   The
> advertisement cites numerous statistics indicating that public education in
> State X is under funded.  While the advertisement does not say anything
> about Governor E’s position on funding for public education, it ends with
> “Tell Governor E what you think about our under-funded schools.”  In public
> appearances and campaign literature, Governor E’s opponent has made funding
> of public education an issue in the campaign by focusing on Governor E’s
> veto of an income tax increase the previous year to increase funding of
> public education.  At the time the advertisement is broadcast, no
> legislative vote or other major legislative activity is scheduled in the
> State X legislature on state funding of public education.  Organization R
> has violated the political campaign prohibition because the advertisement
> identifies Governor E, appears shortly before an election in which Governor
> E is a candidate, is not part of an ongoing series of substantially similar
> advocacy communications by Organization R on the same issue, is not timed
> to coincide with a non election event such as a legislative vote or other
> major legislative action on that issue, and takes a position on an issue
> that the opponent has used to distinguish himself from Governor E.
>
> Example 16:  Candidate A and Candidate B are candidates for the state
> senate in District W of State X.  The issue of State X funding for a new
> mass transit project in District W is a prominent issue in the campaign.
> Both candidates have spoken out on the issue.  Candidate A supports for the
> new mass transit project.  Candidate B opposes the project and supports
> State X funding for highway improvements instead.  P is the executive
> director of C, a section 501(c)(3) organization that promotes community
> development in District W.  At C’s annual fundraising dinner in District W,
> which takes place in the month before the election in State X, P gives a
> lengthy speech about community development issues including the
> transportation issues.  P does not mention the name of any candidate or any
> political party.  However, at the conclusion of the speech, P makes the
> following statement, “For those of you who care about quality of life in
> District W and the growing traffic congestion, there is a very important
> choice coming up next month.  We need new mass transit.  More highway
> funding will not make a difference.  You have the power to relieve the
> congestion and improve your quality of life in District W.  Use that power
> when you go to the polls and cast your vote in the election for your state
> senator.”  C has violated the political campaign intervention as a result
> of P's remarks at C's official function shortly before the election, in
> which P referred to the upcoming election after stating a position on an
> issue that is a prominent issue in a campaign that distinguishes the
> candidates.
>
> https://www.irs.gov/uac/election-year-activities-and-
> the-prohibition-on-political-campaign-intervention-for-
> section-501-c-3-organizations
>
>
> Tiffany Long
> Community Manager
>
> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:35 AM, Arturo 'Buanzo' Busleiman <
> buanzo at buanzo.com.ar> wrote:
>
>> Some useful links:
>>
>> https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organiz
>> ations/published-guidance-on-political-campaign-activity-
>> of-501-c-3-organizations
>>
>> https://www.irs.gov/uac/election-year-activities-and-the-
>> prohibition-on-political-campaign-intervention-for-section-
>> 501-c-3-organizations
>>
>> https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organiz
>> ations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-interventio
>> n-by-section-501-c-3-tax-exempt-organizations
>>
>> A non-official analysis: https://www.nolo.com/legal-enc
>> yclopedia/limits-political-campaigning-501c3-nonprofits-29982.html
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 3:30 PM, Tiffany Long <tiffany.long at owasp.org>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Arturo,
>>>
>>> Due to domestic and international laws governing non-profits and our
>>> 501(c)(3) status in the US Chapters are not allowed to advocate
>>> political or policy positions nor can they sign contracts for the
>>> foundation.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> Tiffany
>>>
>>> Tiffany Long
>>> Community Manager
>>>
>>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:23 AM, Arturo 'Buanzo' Busleiman <
>>> buanzo at buanzo.com.ar> wrote:
>>>
>>>> If I may drop an opinion, each OWASP *US* Chapter should be free to
>>>> speak out, if the chapter's leadership so vote/decide/etc it. And OWASP
>>>> should not need to declare that chapters are free to speak up, I think.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 2:44 PM, Tony Turner <tony.turner at owasp.org>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> I personally think we should avoid political activity unless it
>>>>> impacts our mission. If there are US based activities in support of the
>>>>> OWASP mission that are hampered by the ban then we should speak up, but
>>>>> otherwise stay out of it. For instance, if 90 days extends longer into the
>>>>> year and prevents foreign attendees from coming to AppSecUSA (or other
>>>>> activities, but I'm laser focused on Orlando right now) then that creates
>>>>> impact for our organization and our mission as a whole. That being said, I
>>>>> think there are ways to support our colleagues abroad without condemning
>>>>> the current US political leadership.
>>>>>
>>>>> On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM, Larry Conklin <
>>>>> larry.conklin at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Personally I am torn here. Yes I want America safe. However I don't
>>>>>> really see the value in a 90 days travel band is going to make America any
>>>>>> safer.  Mozilla has spoken up against it. They are in many ways a community
>>>>>> like ours. Should OWASP also go on record for support or against the travel
>>>>>> ban?
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> *This past weekend the Trump Administration signed an executive order
>>>>>> to temporarily suspend travel into the United States for individuals from
>>>>>> Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. This is troubling for
>>>>>> us as a community on many levels.*
>>>>>>
>>>>>> *Mozilla is a global community of people sharing ideas and working
>>>>>> together. We believe in opportunity for all, freedom of ideas, and that
>>>>>> multiculturalism is crucial to building a true global community. This is
>>>>>> why Mozilla has taken a public position against the US immigration ban. *
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/01/28/us-immigration-ban/
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>>>>> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>>>>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> Tony Turner
>>>>> OWASP Orlando Chapter Founder/Co-Leader
>>>>> WAFEC Project Leader
>>>>> STING Game Project Leader
>>>>> tony.turner at owasp.org
>>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Orlando
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>>>> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>>>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>>> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>


-- 
Tony Turner
OWASP Orlando Chapter Founder/Co-Leader
WAFEC Project Leader
STING Game Project Leader
tony.turner at owasp.org
https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Orlando
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