After posting the infamous photo of a Hope for Hunger truck being used to haul campaign signs that have fire endorsing Barrel candidate Bart Turner, another incident was relayed to me. This time it involves members of Glendale’s Historical Society, another 501c3 nonprofit organization.  Mr. Turner is a member of this group but has been inactive for quite some time…until lately…it’s campaign season, ya know.

The Glendale Historical Society has a location at Sahuaro Ranch Park courtesy of the City of Glendale. Sahuaro Ranch Park is a city property. Apparently some members of the Historical Society were handing out campaign material for Mr. Turner. As in the case of the use of the Hope for Hunger truck for campaign sign deployment, members of the Glendale Historical Society cannot participate in an election or advocate for a candidate, especially on city property. The IRS clearly prohibits such activity and it puts a nonprofit’s organization in jeopardy.

It raises other questions. Someone from the city runs Sahuaro Ranch Park. Did that person give his or her blessing to this activity or merely look the other way? Who paid for the campaign literature that was handed out? Members of the Historical Society or Bart Turner’s campaign?

If it was members of the Historical Society that action becomes a double no-no. If it was Turner’s campaign he bears the ultimate responsibility for the action. It is the responsibility of each candidate to know campaign law and to follow the law.

Most probably the Historical society members were asked to pass out the campaign material or took it upon themselves to help a friend. There is no reason for them to know campaign law. However, candidates should know at least one essential no-no: contributions from corporations and nonprofits are not allowed. Ignorance in the eyes of the law is no excuse.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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