Good turnout for Lincoln County Day i...

Good turnout for Lincoln County Day in Santa Fe

There are 3 comments on the Ruidoso News story from Feb 12, 2013, titled Good turnout for Lincoln County Day in Santa Fe. In it, Ruidoso News reports that:

From left, Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn, New Mexico Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson and Rep.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Ruidoso News.

mercury rising

United States

#1 Feb 13, 2013
I'm confused by thus article. The executive director of the Nest spends two months in Santa Fe lobbying? Non profits, especially those bleeding their community dry during a recession possesses the money for wining and dining legislators? Does my money go to serve the women at the shelter or for hotels and lavish accommodations for the director and her family in Santa Fe? As a non profit organization, I was under the impression that organizational monies could not be spent lobbying.
Edith W

Hobbs, NM

#3 Feb 13, 2013
"Coleen Widell, HEAL’s director, camps on the doorsteps of legislators during the Jan-Feb session to bring awareness and lobby issues which affect her clients. She met her staff to give direction about lobbying and a quick Roundhouse tour.

Top on HEAL’s legislative list of priorities is HB 262 which seeks to add the definition of strangulation into the current bill, making prosecution of abusers clearer. Widell knows prosecution of strangulation is hindered by the current law and also, because of her background, knows the process. Widell has held professional positions in criminal justice, direct services and public administration. She served as a probation officer in Washington for 15 years working with criminal offenders and abused women and their children. She also conducted investigations of child abuse and neglect for the Department of Social & Health Services. Widell’s passion for domestic violence survivors is evident.

Read more: Ruidoso Free Press - Local leaders strengthen legislative initiatives in Santa Fe"


The general rule is that 501(c)(3) organizations are limited in lobbying by the requirement that "no substantial part of the activities be used for carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation." Because this vague rule was difficult to interpret and apply, Congress modified the tax code to permit certain 501(c)(3) organizations to elect to lobby under prescribed limits, which provide a safe harbor for the lobbying activities of the organizations. An organization that chooses not elect to follow the safe harbor limits of the tax code can still lobby, but only if lobbying does not constitute a substantial part of the activities of the organization, which could be determined by the cost associated with the lobbying efforts including meals, accommodations, transportation, salary, etc.

A 501(c)(3) organization may choose to participate in lobbying activities under the safe harbor provisions of the tax code by filing form 5768 with the Internal Revenue Service. Once the election has been made, the organization is subject to specific expenditure limits for lobbying activities rather than the more vague "no substantial part" rule.(Election is optional; the organization may prefer to rely on the general rule, particularly if lobbying activities are minimal.) The expenditure limits under the election rules are graduated beginning at 20% of the first $500,000 of the organization's expenditures for charitable "exempt function" purposes, plus 15% of the second $500,000 of charitable "exempt function" expenditures, plus 10% of the third $500,000, plus 5% of any additional expenditures, subject to a maximum of $1,000,000 for any one year. Nonprofits are required to produce upon demand for the public paperwork demonstrating where their monies are going.

It is important to understand the activities that will constitute "lobbying" for the purposes of these requirements. Direct lobbying activities are activities that seek to influence specific legislation. Legislation, in turn, is defined as action by Congress, by any state legislature, by any local council or similar governing body, or by the public in a referendum, initiative, constitutional amendment or similar procedure. Lobbying activity is broken down into two categories. Direct lobbying activities includes contacting members and employees of legislative bodies, such as congressmen, senators, state legislators, city council members, their staffs, or others who formulate legislation, this too, would include "camping on the doorstep" of any legislative office.

Since: Jul 11

Ruidoso NM

#5 Feb 13, 2013
Wow. Just wow.

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