Re: Questions for candidates

Hi Karen,

I think we signed up to the EU "fix my documents" initiative and I
would really hope we could continue to support work like that without
it being an issue. My guess would be that putting our name to that
sort of campaign should be okay, since advocating a legislative
amendment does not cost us anything, is not strictly endorsing a
specific political party and is hopefully not likely to be considered
a significant enough kind of lobbying activity, but do you think it
would be a good idea for us to check with a Lawyer before doing that
sort of thing, in future?

I think it's a good idea to check any lobbying or political involvement of the charity by a lawyer. As Richard said, there is a difference between non-partisan education and lobbying or political activity (and there's some amount of lobbying that can be permitted). Here are two brief summaries from the IRS:

OK thanks for that information. We should bookmark this and keep it in mind. 

I am now also wondering whether I should write to the California
Department of Justice to double check that directors are allowed to be
a member of a political party outside the USA just in case I manage
get elected onto the board. Does this seem like a sensible idea? As
disclosed in my candidacy statement, I am a member of the Scottish
National Party who run the Scottish Government which can sometimes
mean being personally involved with election campaigns, proposing
amendments and voting on proposals as a delegate on behalf of my ward.

These restrictions are US federal rules related to GNOME's 501c3 tax status, not the CA rules (there are different kinds of rules that CA imposes on us).


Your personal views and other affiliations should not be problematic so long as they are not connected to your role within the GNOME Foundation... but do you intend to make political statements or lobby in your capacity as a GNOME Foundation director if you are elected? That would be very relevant. See this FAQ on the IRS site for more information:

There may be a proposal or two which which may relate to software freedom down the line, but nothing I can think of that could directly relate to my role at GNOME either, as a member or (if elected) as a director, at all. So that seems like this should be okay actually. I think it seems like I would have to be a bit more careful about the wording I use on my planet GNOME blog and at events, but that's okay with me.

Also, I should make it clear that this is not legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer about your personal obligations if you are uncertain. As you can probably see, there's a lot of information available on the IRS site too if you'd like to educate yourself (I don't think I'll have time for more back and forth on this issue).

I agree the IRS site is quite informative, thanks. I reckon that should be enough. I'll bookmark it.

While I am not running for another board term and have limited time, I still intend to be available as pro bono counsel to GNOME when the new board takes office. I also am happy to continue to help coordinate other pro bono counsel, as I have done for the last number of years.

That's decent of you, thanks! We all appreciate how much work you have done to improve GNOME and support its community, so I am sure whoever ends up being elected onto the board will try not to make too many demands on your time around these sorts of things; still, it's always reassuring to know that skilled help like this is at hand, if needed! ;-)


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