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The Nation

January 27, 1987

Several charitable groups are opposing the Internal Revenue Service's proposed new regulations on lobbying. The uproar centers on the definition of lobbying. A 1976 law allowing charities to lobby forbids them to spend more than 5% of their money on grass-roots lobbying or more than 20% lobbying governmental bodies. The proposed rules define lobbying to include activities that charitable groups do not count now against their ceilings. For example, under the rules, the full cost of direct-mail fund-raising would be chalked up to grass-roots lobbying if the letters mentioned an organization's views on legislation. Now, the cost is split between fund-raising and lobbying, officials said. The rules also would count as lobbying the full cost of reports on a piece of legislation if the reports are distributed only "to persons reasonably expected to share a common view of the legislation." Now, such reports are not counted as lobbying costs if they meet an objectivity test.

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