Request: SPI to join FACIL in support of Quebec challenge

Jimmy Kaplowitz jimmy at
Fri Aug 29 15:29:31 UTC 2008

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 03:48:52PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Can SPI join FACIL as an organisational member, to promote software in
> the public interest in Quebec and to show solidarity for this move?
> I'm not sure whether FACIL's policy on "Interventions au niveau politique"
> is a problem, but it seems to stop short of party or electoral politics.

Here are several US federal government pages on the rules on political and
lobbying activities for organizations with our tax status (we are a 501(c)(3)
organization, and specifically not a private foundation):,,id=120703,00.html,,id=179773,00.html,,id=179750,00.html

Most likely, if we stay away from anything connected to partisan activity,
political campaigns, or expressing or influencing opinions on who should or
shouldn't be voted for or elected to office, we will not violate the
prohibition on political activities. If we stay away from anything trying to
directly or indirectly influence legislation or its adoption or rejection, we
will probably not violate the limitations on acceptable amounts of lobbying
activities. (If we "involve ourselves in issues of public policy [...] in an
educational manner" without doing stuff relating to legislation, that seems to
be OK.)

However, the above paragraph is only my summary of my understanding, not legal
advice from any lawyer, and if we do decide to join FACIL, we should get one of
our lawyers to confirm that it won't cause us tax problems before any such
decision becomes effective.

- Jimmy Kaplowitz
jimmy at

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