Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Use of Nonprofits as Political Organizations: AALS Call for Papers

The Nonprofit Law Section of the AALS has extended the deadline to July 15 for its call for papers for the 2018 annual meeting in sunny San Diego. Here are the details:

The Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law, in co-sponsorship with the Section on Election Law, is pleased to announce a Call for Papers relating to the topic: The Use of Nonprofit Organizations in Political Campaigns.

By the end of 2016, the nonprofit sector was on the verge of becoming politicized. In that year alone, Donald Trump vowed to destroy the “Johnson Amendment,” a rule of tax law that prohibits charities and all other 501(c)(3) organizations (including churches) from political campaign intervention; the IRS determined that Karl Rove’s nonprofit organization “Crossroads GPS” was a valid “social welfare” organization under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code; IRS Commissioner John Koskinen faced impeachment threats in the House of Representatives in the continuing aftermath of the IRS tea party targeting controversy of 2013; and federal courts in New York and California weighed in on the constitutionality of requiring the disclosure of nonprofit donors. All of these events relate to a growing pressure on the nonprofit form to be used for political purposes.

The papers should examine some aspect (or aspects) of the legal and policy issues that arise, including the range of permitted and proscribed political speech, the problem of speech from the pulpit, the use of nonprofit networks, the constitutionality of disclosure rules, and the appropriate tax treatment of political speech.

Please describe your paper proposal in 500 words or less and submit the proposal no later than July 15, 2017. Papers relating to nonprofit and philanthropy law should be sent to Professor Roger Colinvaux of Columbus School of Law at Catholic University at Papers relating to election law should be sent to Professor Franita Tolson of USC Gould School of Law at

Each section will select one presenter for the program to be held during the AALS 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The authors of the selected papers will be notified by August 1. The paper presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses.

Please direct any inquiries about the Call to Professor Colinvaux or Professor Tolson.


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