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 literature.
  • Chapters and chapter members are prohibited from contributing to political action committees.
  • 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.

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