For many years, there has been an on-going discussion within the Ohio Conference AAUP Board of Trustees about changing our tax status. For many years, the Ohio Conference has been a 501(c)(3) organization under the definitions of the IRS Code. As a "Charitable" organization, the ability of the Ohio Conference to participate in lobbying has been very limited. The IRS Code severely restricts "political" expenditures by 501(c)(3) organizations in exchange for the tax benefits enjoyed by those organizations. The limitations include the value of the work time spent by organization employees, such as our Executive Director on lobbying activities.
With our involvement in 2011 with State Issue 2, the repeal of SB 5, and the increasing number of state issues that have bearing on the quality of higher education in Ohio and on the rights and responsibilities of our members, it became apparent to the Conference Board that we needed to move to a less restrictive tax status. The agenda of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Ohio Conference included discussion of how we can become more engaged in issue-based activism, and a motion was passed that authorized the Trustees to explore and to move towards changing our tax status. Subsequently, the Trustees decided that a 501(c)(6) designation (non-profit business league) preserves our tax-exempt status at the same time that it allows us to increase our expenditures on influencing the outcome of non-partisan "political" issues through such activities as lobbying. The down side of such a move is that contributions to the Conference by individuals would no longer be tax-deductible for those individuals. The upside is that we can be much more effective in pushing for those things that are at the core of our beliefs as an organization.
Upon deciding to move towards a 501(c)(6) status, the Trustees directed the Conference President, Treasurer, and Executive Director to initiate the steps needed to become a 501(c)(6) organization. We have now completed the required paperwork and filed the required papers with the IRS and with the State of Ohio. We have tax ID numbers for the "new" organization. We have opened separate bank accounts for the "new" organization, although our 501(c)(3) organization will continue in existence at least until its current funds are spent down.
The last official action that we need is adoption of a Code of Regulations (Constitution/Bylaws) for the new 501(c)(6) entity. To that end, the Trustees appointed a committee (President John McNay, Government Relations Committee Chair Dave Patton, Treasurer Dave Rubin, and Executive Director Sara Kilpatrick) to draft a proposed Code. The draft was approved by the Trustees at its January 26, 2013 meeting. The vote to formally adopt the Code will occur at the 2013 Annual Conference Meeting to be held on April 13th.
To view the proposed Code, and other information pertaining to this year's Annual Meeting, click here.
Dave Rubin, Treasurer