Use of the Name When Acting In a Non-Johns Hopkins Capacity In Political Campaigns


Faculty and staff MAY donate to a campaign, attend campaign events or assist in political campaign activities, but these efforts must be conducted during personal time and using personal resources. In addition, faculty and staff who are participating in partisan political activities are expected to ensure their compliance with appropriate federal, state and local law regarding campaign contribution limits and reporting requirements.

As a nonprofit institution, Johns Hopkins may not allow its resources to be used in partisan political activities.

Inappropriate use example
The request: Mr. Roberts will be holding a fund raiser at his home for a candidate running for state delegate. In preparing the invitation and a related newspaper ad, he wants to include his title at Johns Hopkins for identification purposes.

Analysis: An employee's title may be used for identification purposes, and only as long as it does not suggest or imply Johns Hopkins' endorsement. In a political advertisement published in a newspaper with a list of people endorsing a candidate, a Johns Hopkins employee may use his affiliation if he or she includes a disclaimer that the endorsement is given only in his or her personal capacity.

Decision: In this example, since Mr. Roberts is hosting the event at his home, there is no need to identify his employer and he should not do so. In general, use of Mr. Roberts' Johns Hopkins title, while permissible in some circumstances for identification purposes, is discouraged due to the potential inference of institutional support.

Inappropriate use example
The request: Dr. Snow is supporting a candidate for City Council and wants to send colleagues an electronic invitation, via his Johns Hopkins e-mail account, to an informal gathering in his office to meet the candidate. The event is not a fund raiser.

Analysis: As a nonprofit, Johns Hopkins may not use any of its resources (funds, facilities, phones, e-mail systems, etc.) to support or oppose a candidate for any public office.
Nonprofit institutions, such as Johns Hopkins, may conduct or participate in nonpartisan candidate forums or related activities, but these activities are only permitted within very strict guidelines. For example, all viable candidates seeking a particular office must be afforded equal opportunity to participate. Government Affairs should be consulted immediately, prior to any invitations or before commitments are made, to ensure compliance with IRS requirements for nonprofits engaging in these efforts.

Decision: Dr. Snow may not use his Johns Hopkins e-mail account to send the invitation, nor may he use his office as the venue for the event where only a single candidate is invited.