Are PTA's donations to Measure E Legal?
Original post made by PTAs are a PAC (Political Action Committee), Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011
I always thought that my donations to the PTA went to education, and not to campaigns. After I saw just about every school's PTA donated to the parcel tax campaign, I have decided never to donate to PTA anymore. I thought the PTA was void of politics. I don't mind the PTAs getting involved in volunteering for the parcel tax campaign, or individual members contributing to the campaign, but it does not seem right that the PTA can donate money that was donated to the PTA by parents who thought the money was going to directly impact their schools.
If you go to the California PTA website, you will see:
"PTA does not directly finance election campaigns or divert PTA funds to any other organization, including campaign organizations. (PTA members may, as individuals, donate to a campaign if they choose to do so. A PTA may invite its members to contribute to a campaign as long it does not appear coercive or expected.) "
You will also see:
"Protect PTA nonpartisan policy and tax-exempt status
To retain tax-exempt status and continue to receive tax-deductible contributions, PTAs may not 1) devote more than an insubstantial part of their activities to influence legislation, including ballot measures (generally interpreted as not exceeding five percent of total income);
2) participate in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for national, state, or local public office.
A unit's failure to comply with these restrictions may endanger PTA council, district, California State PTA and National PTA 501(c)(3) status."
Since Hearst Elementary PTA donated $5,000 according to campaign filings, that seems substantial. I don't know their budget but if they donated $5,000 and they are not supposed to donate more than 5% of their income, that means that the Hearst PTA needs to bring in more than $100,000 a year or they have donated more than 5% of the income to a political campaign. I also do not believe they can donate directly to a campaign but can advocate for and spend some money on fliers.
Here are the donations listed at the county:
Hearst PTA: $5,000
Fairlands PTA: $999
Lydiksen PFC: $999
Walnut Grove PTA: $999
Harvest Park PTA: $999
Pleasanton PTA Council: $250