Political involvement: What is acceptable?

Can nonprofit senior living communities host candidates’ nights, mayoral debates and similar events? Yes, but stick to the issues, and be inclusive, Sharon E. Caulfield, Esq., told those attending a legal issues forum at the LeadingAge annual meeting.

“You’re not prevented from participating in the political world. You’re prevented from taking a position for or against a candidate or an organization that is so closely aligned with a particular candidate that it becomes clear where you’re going with that,” said Caufield, of Caplan and Earnest LLC, Boulder, Colo.

So debates and similar events are permissible as long as all candidates are invited—even if some do not attend—“as long as you invited everyone to come and made it available on a nonpartisan basis,” Caufield said. “You’re certainly allowed to be a forum for your residents to understand political and social issues,” she added.

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