AACN Health Policy Restrictions
Chapters may not participate in or contribute to political campaigns on behalf of
or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Chapters may not lobby on behalf
of chapters or National AACN.
As private citizens, chapter members have the right to make their voices heard in
government. However, AACN, as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit association, must comply
with restrictions placed on lobbying and on political activities. These IRS restrictions
limit the Association to an insubstantial amount of lobbying.
What Is Lobbying?
- For not-for-profit associations, lobbying is attempting to persuade or influence
the members of a government body at the city, county, state or federal level. Citizens
can lobby to enact, modify or halt the passage of proposals made by a legislative
body at any level.
- Lobbying seeks to influence executive, judicial and regulatory institutions.
- Lobbying is when you or chapter members contact friends and neighbors in an effort
to influence public opinion. Other examples of grassroots lobbying include appearing
in a public forum to discuss pending health legislation and writing a letter to
the editor of a newspaper.
What Is Not Considered Lobbying?
- Making available the results of nonpartisan analysis, study or research or providing
technical advice or assistance in response to a written request by a governing body
is not considered lobbying.
- Communicating with AACN chapters or members about legislation of direct interest
to critical care nursing and communicating with government officials or employees
when the communications do not constitute an attempt to influence legislation is
not considered lobbying.
Chapter Member Restrictions
Although a not-for-profit association may participate legally in lobbying activities,
the law prohibits a not-for-profit association from supporting or opposing any candidate
for elective office. AACN may not participate in any political campaign on behalf
of any candidate for elective office. This includes publishing or distributing statements
or campaign literature, contributing to a campaign or political action committee,
or sponsoring fund-raising events. Violation of this prohibition can cause the loss
of an association's tax-exempt status.
- Chapter members are prohibited from using their membership in AACN or an AACN chapter
to endorse or oppose any candidate for elective office at any level of government.
- Chapter members are prohibited from using their AACN membership or chapter organization
in any electioneering. Electioneering includes endorsing, supporting, or opposing
a candidate on behalf of AACN; contributing to campaign funds on behalf of AACN;
soliciting campaign funds on behalf of AACN; or listing AACN's name on campaign
- Chapters and chapter members are prohibited from contributing to political action
- Chapters and chapter members are prohibited from speaking on behalf of AACN unless
they have been designated as an AACN spokesperson.
- Chapters and chapter members are prohibited from endorsing, supporting or opposing
issues on behalf of AACN unless they have been asked to do so by AACN.
*If you or your chapter is contemplating endorsing, supporting or opposing specific
legislative issues on behalf of AACN please contact Dana Woods at 800-393-5995,
ext. 516, for information and guidance.
*AACN chapters and members are advised to participate in political campaign activity
on their own time and as individuals without any suggestion that they are participating
as a representative of, or on behalf of AACN or an AACN Chapter.