The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

WASHINGTON — Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely 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. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

irs-logoCertain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances.  For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

Interactive Training

Learn more about the benefits, limitations and expectations of tax-exempt organizations by attending 10 courses at the online Small to Mid-Size Tax Exempt Organization Workshop.

— Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

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Advisory Outlining New Data Privacy Rights Issued for California Consumers

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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued an advisory for consumers highlighting their new rights as part of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into in effect on January 1, 2020. The advisory describes consumers’ basic privacy rights under the CCPA and methods for consumers to exercise those rights, information about the data broker registry, and new guidelines related to data security. Enforcement of CCPA is the responsibility of the Office of the Attorney General.

Sacramento-DGS-CapitolBldg“Knowledge is power, and in today’s world knowledge is derived from data. When it comes to your own data, you should be in control,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California we are rebalancing the power dynamic by putting power back in the hands of consumers. I encourage all Californians to take a moment to understand their new rights and exercise these rights to take control of their personal data.”

CCPA grants new rights to California consumers

  • Right to know – Consumers may request that businesses disclose what personal information is collected, used, shared or sold by the business, in both categories and specific pieces of information;
  • Right to delete — Consumers may request that a business delete the consumer’s personal information held by both the business and by extension, the business’s service providers;
  • Right to opt-out  Consumers may direct a business to cease the sale of the consumer’s personal information. As required by the law, businesses must provide a “Do Not Sell” information link on their websites or mobile apps;
  • Rights for minors regarding opt-in consent — Children under the age of 16 must provide opt-in consent, with a parent or guardian consenting for children under 13; and
  • Right to non-discrimination — Businesses may not discriminate against consumers in terms of price or service when a consumer exercises a privacy right under CCPA.

Businesses subject to CCPA

Not all California businesses are subject to CCPA. A business is subject to CCPA if the business:

  • Has gross annual revenue in excess of $25 million;
  • Buys, receives, or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
  • Derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

In addition, as proposed by the draft regulations, businesses that handle the personal information of more than four million consumers will have additional record-keeping obligations.

Data Broker Registry 

As required by California Civil Code section 1798.99.80, a data broker must register with the Attorney General at https://www.oag.ca.gov/data-broker/register. The law mandates that a data broker shall pay a registration fee and provide information including primary physical, email, and internet website addresses, as well as any additional information or explanation the data broker chooses to provide concerning its data collection practices. The registry is accessible to consumers.

Consumers’ private right of action in the case of a data breach 

Businesses are required to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect consumers’ personal information, and CCPA authorizes a consumer to institute a civil action if their personal information, as defined in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 1798.81.5 is subject to an unauthorized breach as a result of a business’s failure to reasonably secure this data.

Consumers were able to begin exercising the rights listed above under the CCPA on January 1, 2020. Under Civil Code 1798.100 – 1798.199, businesses subject to CCPA were required to begin complying with the law on January 1, 2020.

Consumer complaints may be reported at oag.ca.gov/report or by calling (800) 952-5225. A factsheet regarding the CCPA and the draft regulations proposed by Attorney General Becerra are available at oag.ca.gov/ccpa.


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Tech juggernauts are returning to Capitol Hill for a new round of hearings

WASHINGTON — Now under attack by POTUS, meet the new wolves of ‘K Street’.

Ahead of tech executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter heading to more hearings in front of the U.S. Senate, in this video Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster discusses what he expects to hear from these powerful companies.

“Here’s the CODE…”

What are their new agenda items, hidden or otherwise? Legacy policies have eroded, our data and privacy are next to non-existent, artificial intelligence (Ai), social media, and search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms (“algos“) matter—regulations are inevitable.

M&A: A merger or an acquisition? How soon could artificial intelligence and machine learning subsume legislative processes and ‘become one’ with Federal, State, and Local lawmakers when governing bodies can no longer fully embrace software-defined  ecosystems, cybersecurity challenges,  nor keep pace with new technologies?  ‘Swiping left‘ or ‘swiping right‘ for proposals, bills, and votes in near real-time are distinct possibilities with human-in-the-loop machine learning.

Bail-Out: Oversight committees and regulatory demands for discriminatory algorithms, pleas for open source software, or mandatory transparency for pseudo-code or source code will not bode very well for search engine and social media business models.

When industry’s “Secret Sauce” no longer remains secret nor immune from new laws and regulations, alternative value propositions will respectfully be requested from lawmakers and appropriators by lobbyists, stakeholders and shareholders in order for powerful applications and algorithms to preserve industrial dominance across all industry sectors.

Powerful trends toward digital transformation, end-user empowerment, and global policies such as the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are just the beginning.

— Sources: CNBC and BDPA Washington

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