The first rule is that you cannot ever endorse a candidate. (This has to do with IRS rules around non-profit status, if you have that, and rules against state entities endorsing candidates if you are not a non-profit.) Since all CILs are non-profits, your CIL cannot endorse any candidate. No signs in your window, local or national. No speaking on a candidate’s behalf at any event.

Capital building with a crowd gathered in front of it.

The second rule is that you cannot use federal money to lobby. This means several things.

  1. Any action you take to attempt to influence related to money you are receiving or wish to receive is considered lobbying.
  2. Any action you take to support or oppose a specific piece of legislation is considered lobbying.
  3. The SILC or CIL can lobby if there are no federal funds spent in supporting the effort either in direct costs, salaries (staff time), or indirect costs.
  4. The SILC council members and CIL board members, as long as they don’t imply that they are speaking for the council/board and as long as the council/board doesn’t assist with any costs, can speak to any matter as members of the public unless the state prohibits this in its executive orders or other documents related to council operations.
  5. Testimony around the effectiveness of centers for independent living or other issues of concern to the disability community can be provided by SILC or CIL staff or council/board members at SILC/CIL cost (including federal funds) as long as it doesn’t end with a request for continuing or increasing funds or opposing or supporting legislation.
  6. Reports of statewide effectiveness of IL can be provided by SILC staff or council members at SILC cost, or CIL staff at CIL cost, as long as there is not a request for continuing or increasing funds or opposing or supporting legislation.
  7. You can respond to questions asked in a hearing or other forum, as long as you don’t lobby – that is ask for a specific vote for or against a bill or budget item.
Lobbying: What can SILCs and CILs do?

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