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Statement on Nonpartisanship and Political Activity

Guidelines for New America Staff and Fellows


Intellectual depth, range, and independence from partisan politics are among the New America Foundation's most important assets. To protect New America's commitment to nonpartisanship and intellectual independence, as well as abide by IRS regulations, it is essential that we maintain the highest standards with regard to the public statements and activities of New America staff and in our political activity.

Political Activity:

As a tax exempt, non-profit organization governed by Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, the New America Foundation is prohibited as an institution from political activity. Therefore, the New America Foundation does not participate in campaigns for candidates for public office, nor does it support or oppose specific candidates or parties.

New America's own purposes, values, and obligations, however, lead it to broader policies with regard to engagement in the political process. New America is an important resource for policy development and information, and the audience for our research, ideas, and analysis inevitably includes elected officials and candidates for office of all parties, as well as non-elected policymakers, the media and the public. In keeping with the Foundation's mission, direct or indirect contact with elected officials and candidates and their staffs is encouraged when it relates to bringing new ideas to the fore of our nation's discourse to allow policymakers and others to better understand the policy challenges ahead.


To protect New America's commitment to nonpartisanship, staff members should observe the following principles and rules with regard to political activity.

In keeping with the Foundation's mission, staff may brief or consult with candidates and campaigns on a strictly non-exclusive basis. New America policy advice, research, publications, analysis, and conferences and events are available to government officials, legislators, political candidates, and others regardless of political affiliation. Staff should never make promises of exclusive access or advice.

Staff may not appear as surrogates for candidates before the media or the public, and should refrain from representing or counseling them at public events or media appearances.

If staff members advise candidates in a fashion that constitutes or connotes support for those candidates they must do so in a personal capacity, outside regular business hours and without the use of New America Foundation resources. They must also make explicitly clear that they are acting as individuals and not on behalf of the New America Foundation. When staff members make such arrangements in a personal capacity they should discuss and disclose their plans with their supervisor in advance, and must request a leave of absence if their political activities interfere with, or take time away from, their New America Foundation obligations.

In the case of Fellows and other part-time employees it is expected that they will have outside activities and income beyond their commitment to the Foundation. Employees in these categories are welcome to participate in political activity on their own time and on their own behalf (on both a paid and unpaid basis), but not as representatives of the New America Foundation. In the case of Fellows with multiple affiliations, when in doubt about participation in a political activity they should use another of their affiliations or none at all. In the interest of open communication, Fellows should also discuss and disclose political activity with appropriate colleagues in a timely fashion.

All questions regarding political activity should be directed to the President, Vice President, or the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Staff and Fellows wishing to publicly or privately provide exclusive advice to a candidate or a party, or work for a specific candidate, join an advisory council to a campaign, or run for office must seek written approval from the President of the New America Foundation to reach a mutually agreed upon arrangement in advance of official engagement.