Threshold on political activities for affiliated projects?

Josh Berkus josh at
Mon Feb 10 18:19:53 UTC 2014


> How do you feel about campaigns such as
>, which would seem to be backed by
> (amongst others) EFF and Mozilla?

Well, neither the EFF nor Mozilla are affiliated projects, so I don't
think SPI has an opinion.

For that matter, if an affiliated project is using contributor time, but
not money or resources held by SPI, we're simply not involved; we don't
govern your project, and we're not responsible for anything you do
outside of the use of SPI resources.  This means that if you want to
organize members of your affiliated project to participate in that
campaign, SPI is simply not involved.

Now, if you wanted to use funds held at SPI for something like that
campaign, we'd have to answer two questions:

1. can we legally participate in that political activity as a 501(c)3?
(the answer is often no)

2. is it within our mission statement?

In general, SPI funds/resources can only be used to support
non-lobbying, non-electoral campaigns which relate directly and
unarguably to the mission of promoting and developing free software.
And the Board would need to approve each such expenditure, since we risk
our 501(c)3 accredidation if we make a mistake.

So, in the particular case of, in my
personal opinion (pending Board/counsel confirmation), it would not be
appropriate to use SPI resources, since while the campaign is neither
electoral nor lobbying, it is also outside of the strict definition of
SPI's mission.  That campaign *is* within Mozilla's mission, which is
why can officially participate.

That being said, I personally plan to send out a flurry of efaxes from
the airplane I'll be on tommorrow ...

--Josh Berkus

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