This photo was sent to me within the hour by one of my blog readers. Take a good look. This afternoon these two gentlemen were seen putting up campaign signs and there are more in the bed of the truck. Do you see the logo on the truck? It is a Hope for Hunger truck. Hope for Hunger is a 501c3 non-profit corporation. It was started by and is run by Randy Rodriquez, a Glendale fire fighter. Make no mistake. It does good work in the community. It distributes food to thousands of people annually. It fills an extraordinary need.

So, what’s the problem? “Nonprofit corporations with a 501(c)(3) tax exemption cannot participate in or contribute money to political campaigns. If they do, the IRS can revoke their nonprofit status, and can assess a special excise tax against the organization and its managers.” ( In addition they cannot endorse candidates.

In other words, organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office. The Internal Revenue Service website elaborates upon this prohibition as follows:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Let’s for a minute assume the two gentlemen putting up a fire endorsement sign for Barrel district candidate Bart Turner are in no way connected to the 501c3 nonprofit, Hope for Hunger. There still remains the issue of the use of a nonprofit’s equipment, in this case a truck, for a political campaign.  It, instead of money, is an in-kind contribution. You can barely see but there are more campaign signs in the bed of the truck.

For years the Glendale fire union has been a major influence in political elections in Glendale. This time, someone may have crossed the line by using a nonprofit’s equipment for political purposes. That’s what’s wrong with this picture.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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