Employees are encouraged to be active in the nation’s political process and to contribute their personal time and/or financial support to political organizations of their choice. However, political contributions and/or activity by TU are legally prohibited. Federal tax law prohibits TU from participating, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign activities on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. Any violation of this prohibition would subject TU to excise tax penalties and could jeopardize its continued entitlement to tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3).
While the tax law prohibition does not apply to political campaign activities of TU employees in their individual capacities, it is essential that any such activities not be attributed to TU. This means that such activities must be conducted by employees on their own time and with their own resources. It also means that TU employees, if contacted by the media in their TU capacity, may not endorse any political candidate or position.
Any TU employees wishing to participate in political campaign activities must observe the following guidelines with respect to their conduct at the workplace:
- Employees may not use TU’s facilities, personnel, equipment or financial resources, including computers, faxes, telephones, support services (secretarial, duplicating, messenger, etc.) or supplies (letterhead, postage, etc.), in connection with their political campaign activities.
- Employees may not engage in any political fundraising activities while on TU’s premises and may not use TU resources (letterhead, etc.) to transmit their personal campaign contributions.
- Employees who desire to participate in campaign activities during normal working hours must take personal leave or vacation time to do so.
- Any employee who desires to assume an official position with a campaign (i.e., treasurer, member of a campaign advisory committee, etc.) must (a) first notify TU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of this activity, and (b) notify the campaign in writing, with a copy to TU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, that such participation is in his or her individual capacity. The employee should request that the campaign make no reference to the employee’s position with TU and should use his or her home address for campaign-related correspondence.