We are entering a very busy election year. We hope that as informed and active citizens you take the responsibility of voting seriously. This also means that we need to remind everyone of the policies around PTA and Elections.
PTA, as a tax-exempt organization, cannot support or oppose political parties or candidates. This includes nonpartisan offices such as school board or city council elections. Participation in activities that might indicate political support places the association’s nonprofit status with the IRS at risk. To retain our IRS tax-exempt status and continue to receive tax-deductible contributions, a PTA may not participate in any type of political campaign or other activity on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for any public office.
PTA leaders may not publicly support a candidate using their PTA title or name of the PTA. Support for candidates, parties, or political positions may only be given as a private citizen without mention of one’s association with PTA. A current or former PTA board member may not use a PTA title, the name of the PTA, or the PTA trademark to endorse a candidate in any manner (verbal, electronic, written, letters, websites, etc.).
Individual candidates may not be invited to address PTA meetings, even if they are PTA members, unless all other candidates are invited. Holding a candidate forum and inviting all candidates is appropriate and encouraged. This avoids the appearance of bias or support for an individual candidate. PTA members are not prohibited from running for public office themselves nor from listing PTA involvement as part of their biographical information and/or campaign literature. A PTA member who is running for office may perform his or her regular PTA duties. PTA and campaign activities must be kept separate. This includes the prohibition of any announcement around candidacy before, after, or during PTA meetings or events.
Social Media is an area that must also reflect these standards. This means PTAs must monitor their social media accounts—including the comments—so it doesn’t appear you are endorsing or opposing a candidate, party, or issue. Endorsements can be implied, so be careful. A good rule of thumb is not to allow any comments about a candidate running for office on your PTA social media.
To summarize, for PTAs to retain tax-exempt status and continue to receive tax-deductible contributions under Internal Revenue Code, they may not devote more than an insubstantial part of their activities to influence legislation; participate in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for national, state, or local public office.
For any questions please contact Ninth District: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please visit the California State PTA website and these links for elections and reference on organizing a local candidates forum: