In Brief

At its Feb 25-27 meeting, APA's Council of Representatives will consider a proposal to create a 501(c)(6) organization as a companion to APA, a move that would enable the association to do more lobbying on behalf of its members.

APA is classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(3) organization. Because of that, it may not expend more than one million dollars on lobbying expenses in any one year.

By creating a separate 501(c)(6) organization, which has no limitation on lobbying expenses, APA and the companion organization together would have more freedom and flexibility in their advocacy and lobbying work.

In addition, 501(c)(6) organizations have greater freedom to engage in activities that promote professional interests.

"The purpose of creating a companion organization with a (c)(6) tax status is to create more opportunity for lobbying and other advocacy activities in support of the work of the membership without jeopardizing the current tax status of the association," says APA General Counsel Jim McHugh. "The changes in the APA organizational chart would be fairly invisible to the average member. What they will want to know, however, is that this change will allow us to do more advocacy and lobbying work for everyone, practitioners and researchers alike."

Because most advocacy work on behalf of professional interests is now done within the Practice Directorate, the companion organization would focus on practice issues and would continue to be supported by those resources that currently support much of the directorate's advocacy work--the special assessment. The annual budget for the new organization is forecast to be approximately $5 million.

The companion organization proposal calls for The Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) to, as it does now, be "the daily overseer of the (c)(6)'s special assessment funded activities."

CAPP would report to a companion organization Board of Directors, which would have the same members as APA's Board of the Directors.

In its (c)(6) role, the board will then regularly report to the Council of Representatives on its (c)(6) activities much in the way it now does concerning APA.

APA's Board of Directors has been studying the tax status issues for two years and unanimously endorsed in principle the companion organization proposal at its December 1999 meeting. A name for the companion organization has not yet been determined.

--R. FARBERMAN