Lobbying in Chicago: Nonprofit Compliance Challenges

Is your nonprofit affected by Chicago’s amendments to its lobbying ordinance?  Last summer, the City of Chicago updated applicable lobbying registration and other requirements, including new applicability for nonprofit employees and other advocates.  On January 14, 2020, the Chicago Board of Ethics issued three binding advisory opinions aimed at nonprofit lobbying compliance, with a strong emphasis on ethics and transparency coupled with the promise of more guidance to come. Enforcement of the nonprofit registration provisions in the lobbying ordinance has been delayed until April 20, 2020. Here’s what responsible nonprofit leaders need to know now about Chicago lobbying, and how they can best prepare.

Donor Naming Rights

Does giving donors naming rights to buildings and programs make for good philanthropy? Careful evaluation and planning are warranted for charitable organizations and their donors. Along with protecting the donors’ tax-deductible gifts, other significant areas to address include manner of recognition, timing, reputational considerations, and changed circumstances.

Good News for Nonprofits Affected by the Nonprofit Parking Tax

As part of a large spending package to avoid a government shutdown, Congress passed legislation repealing the infamous “Nonprofit Parking Tax” – an income tax on the cost of parking provided by nonprofit organizations to their employees performing exempt charitable, religious, and educational activities. The repeal of the Nonprofit Parking Tax is retroactive – the legislation literally states that the effective date of repeal is as if the tax was never in the original law. The bill was signed by President Trump on December 20, 2019.