Occasionally Friends groups will here that they cannot lobby, but that is not true. The U.S. Congress and IRS say that it’s legal for nonprofits to lobby as long as it’s not a substantial portion of your activities. In 1976 Congress established clear guidance on how much a 501(c)(3) can expend on lobbying activities. Learn how to measure your lobbying activities using the expenditure test.
Since refuge and hatchery employees are paid with government funds, they are not allowed to lobby, or seek to directly influence specific legislation that effects refuges or hatcheries. However, Friends groups have the right, and arguably even the obligation, to lobby on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Hatchery System and their own personal national wildlife refuge or hatchery. Just remember not to lobby while at a Service-managed site (like your refuge or hatchery).
Photo: National Wildlife Refuge Association Former Board Members Chad Brown (left) and service dog Axe and Cheryl Hart (right) with Senator Merkley (OR)