Here is a copy of a memo marked “Secret” and attachments from the Department of Finance on Finance released under Freedom of Information dealing with “Registered Charities – Political Activities, Foreign Funding and Transparency”.

It may take a minute to download:
Finance Memo on Registered Charities – Political Activities, Foreign Funding and Transparency

It is interesting to note the November 2011 statement:

“Where a registered charity gifts funds to another charity or qualified donee, the charity would not be required to demonstrate direction and control over these resources, and is not responsible for reporting how these funds are ultimately spent by the donee.

• However, a charity may not circumvent the restrictions in the ITA, such as those on political activities, by paying another charity to conduct these activities on its behalf. In such a case, the payment would not represent a gift and the funding charity would still be bound by the ordinary restrictions on political activity.

• Further, if a charity predominantly uses its resources to support the political activities of other registered charities or qualified donees (e.g., in the form of otherwise legitimate gifts), it could be found to be operating for a political purpose.

However, the ITA rules would not prevent a group of charities from pooling resources together to conduct a political campaign on an issue of mutual relevance – i.e., a larger campaign than any one charity could conduct independently. In such an example, each charity could contribute up to 10 per cent of their resources to the cooperative campaign without being in breach of the ITA rules.”