Summary of Regulations
Governing COPA Solicitations
1. Local Unions, State organizations, and APWU Auxiliaries may, and should, use their treasury funds to urge members to contribute to the APWU Committee on Political Action (COPA). This is our way of helping to elect congressional representatives for working people.
2. Fund-raising efforts may include:
- Personal appeals by Union officers and stewards directed to members (hand the member a COPA contribution form).
- Articles in your local Newsletter or Paper, including a COPA contribution form for use in sending contributions.
- Direct mail appeals for contributions (include a COPA contribution form).
- Raffles (which must comply with state law).
- Bake sales.
- Rummage sales.
3. Union treasury fund expenditures should not be more than one third of the amount raised for COPA. For example, if a Local purchases a prize for a COPA raffle, the cost of the prize may not exceed one-third of the amount raised for COPA. (If it does, COPA must return some of the money to the Local.)
4. Solicitations of COPA contributions may only be sent to people who are part of the APWU family.
- This group, called our "restricted class" includes:
- all APWU members and their families,
- all APWU retiree members and their families, and
- all APWU Executive and administrative employees and their families.
- "Solicitations" are rather broadly defined to include communications that encourage COPA contributions or provide detailed information about how to make them, in addition to outright appeals for donations.
- This means that, if you use your Local Newsletter or Paper for soliciting contributions, you should not send that issue to people outside our "restricted class." Do not send those solicitations to unions other than the APWU, public officials, or other people who might ordinarily be on your mailing list.
- This also means that Union Bulletin Boards and Web Pages that reach people who are not part of our "restricted class" may not be used for COPA solicitations. It is permissible to:
- Announce the existence of COPA and explain the legal requirements that apply to its activities;
- Provide information about how much COPA has raised, the number of contributors, and the number of candidates supported; and
- Identify federal candidates who have been supported by COPA, as long as the publication does not suggest that support for COPA would help elect or defeat those candidates.
5. The Hatch Act prohibits all "political activities" on postal premises. The special Counsel who enforces the Hatch Act has interpreted this to mean that COPA fundraising activities are not permitted on the workroom floor or in non-work areas, including steward rooms or union offices on postal premises.
6. All COPA solicitations, in publications or personal appeals, should be accompanied by a "disclaimer" that gives assurances that all contributions are voluntary and that no favor will be bestowed or withheld as a result of a contribution or the failure to make a contribution. The following language, which is on the APWU COPA contribution form, should be reprinted in any publication or correspondence urging COPA contributions:
Contributions or gifts to COPA are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. COPA will use the contributions it receives for political purposes, including making contributions to candidates for federal, state, and local offices, and addressing political issues of public importance. Contributions to COPA are voluntary. More or less than the suggested amount may be given, and the amount given or the refusal to give will not benefit or disadvantage the person being solicited. Federal law requires political action committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 in a calendar year.
7. Contributors should be asked to use the COPA contribution form. This will assist COPA in meeting its reporting requirements and will automatically provide contributors the disclaimer language quoted above, which appears on the form.