Allen H. Mattison

Allen H. Mattison Partner

Allen Mattison helps nonprofit organizations to mitigate legal risks while maximizing their ability to advocate effectively for their public-policy missions.  From establishing corporations and securing I.R.S. tax exemptions, to managing employment matters and understanding options for political activism, he helps nonprofit leaders succeed in all phases of their organizations’ lives.  For nonprofit leaders who want to influence elections or pass new laws, he explains the available options and works with them to tailor their tactics to the relevant federal or state lobbying and campaign-finance regime.  For grant-funded section 501(c)(3) organizations, Allen teaches managers the line between educational and lobbying activities, so they can stretch their non-lobbying funds strategically to maximize their advocacy impact – saving scarce lobbying dollars for when they will have the biggest bang for the buck.

Before becoming a lawyer, Allen worked in political communications, serving as the Sierra Club's national media relations director and in communications roles on campaigns and in the U.S. Senate.  These experiences give Allen perspective on the challenges nonprofit managers and grantmakers face in developing programs that maximize their advocacy power within the restrictions imposed on section 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations and PACs.

Using his communications background, Allen has helped numerous organizations understand how to structure their social media outreach without violating lobbying and campaign-finance restrictions.  He wrote Friends, Tweets, and Links: IRS Treatment of Social Media Activities By Section 501(c)(3) Organizations, 67 Exempt Org. Tax Rev. 445 (May 2011), one of the first scholarly articles to address charities’ election-related use of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools.  He also wrote Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age: The Law of Online Lobbying and Election-related Activities (Alliance for Justice, Fall 2011), a plain-language guidebook for nonprofit managers seeking to maximize their social media power without violating relevant laws.

Education:
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. cum laude, 2006
Washington University in St. Louis, B.A. with college honors, 1996

Prior Professional Experience:
Sierra Club, Director of Media Relations, Press Secretary
Nixon for Senate, Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Deputy Press Secretary

Honors:
Shepley Award for Scholarship, Leadership and Service to Washington University

Publications:
Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age: The Law of Online Lobbying and Election-related Activities, Alliance for Justice, 2011.

Friends, Tweets, and Links: IRS Treatment of Social Media Activities By Section 501(c)(3) Organizations, 67 Exempt Org. Tax Rev. 445 (May 2011).

Can the New Bankruptcy Law Benefit Debtors, Too?: Interpreting the 2005 Bankruptcy Act to Clean Up the Credit-Counseling Industry and Save Debtors from Chronic Poverty, 13 Geo. J. on Poverty L. and Pol'y 513 (2006).

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