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What is the Humane Society Legislative Fund?
Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office.
Why and when was the HSLF created?
HSLF was formed in 2004 by The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals, two of the nation’s leading animal protection organizations. In 2006, the Doris Day Animal League joined forces with HSLF. As the new lobbying arm of three organizations that have long recognized the need for public policy changes for animals, HSLF can increase our public policy work, build an army of trained political activists, and compete with other groups that have long been operating at a different level. We may not be able to match our opponents dollar for dollar, but we will be more aggressive and more effective. That means more lobbyists at the state and federal levels, more ballot initiatives, and more victories for animals.
What's the difference between lobbying and electioneering?
Lobbying is persuading elected officials to support a specific position on legislation. Supporting or opposing ballot measures is also considered lobbying, because the people have an opportunity to approve or reject legislative proposals. Electioneering involves supporting or opposing a specific candidate for elected office. While legislation and education are the primary purposes of a social welfare organization such as HSLF, the organization can also engage in a limited amount of election work by supporting and opposing candidates.
Are donations to the HSLF tax deductible?
No. Contributions or gifts to HSLF are not tax deductible. Your donation may be used for lobbying to pass laws to protect animals, as well as for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates. HSLF does not accept contributions from business corporations or labor organizations. If you would like to make an online donation, please click here.
How does the HSLF decide which candidates to support?
HSLF uses a variety of tools to assess both incumbents and challengers. For candidates with a track record on animal protection issues, we use the HSLF Humane Scorecard and we assess their leadership on animal protection issues. For challengers, we ask them to fill out questionnaires or otherwise query the candidates on their positions, we assess any existing record on animal issues through previous elective offices such as in a state legislature, and we examine their chances for winning the seat. We also rely on our supporters to inform us of individuals running for office who are supportive of animal issues.
Does HSLF consider other social issues, such as education, abortion, civil rights, defense spending, etc.?
No. HSLF is completely non-partisan, and supports Democrats, Republicans, and Independents based on a single criterion: animal protection. HSLF has a single focus, and does not evaluate candidates based on the many other issues that come before legislative bodies. If we were to consider other issues, no matter how important, it would be difficult to find a candidate to support. HSLF believes that animal protection voters must be an identifiable voting block in order to gain greater respect and attention from candidates. When we can influence the outcome of elections, more candidates will embrace our agenda.
What does HSLF do when a candidate is excellent in some areas of animal protection but not in others?
Sometimes we have to make a difficult decision, such as endorsing a candidate who is a great friend of wild animals but not necessarily as helpful with companion animals, or vice versa. Other times, we may choose to support an elected official who is the chairman of an important committee, who could take the lead on passing important pro-animal bills, even if the official does not support our entire agenda. In short, we don’t require 100% orthodoxy to our issues; we take into consideration the candidate’s district, how the candidate compares to his or her opponent in a race, and other information. An endorsement is always a judgment between candidates who are running for the same seat.
What is the Humane Action Network?
You can join our online network of animal advocates for free. Learn about the hot issues in animal protection and how you can take action. As a benefit of joining our Humane Action Network, you'll get timely news and alerts to help you help animals. Visit our homepage to sign up.
How do I find my elected officials?
To find your elected officials, please visit the Web site of the Humane Society of the United States here.
How can I learn how my elected officials voted on animal protection issues?
You can download and view the most recent Humane Scorecard here.
Where do I find financial information about the Humane Society Legislative Fund?
You can download our IRS Form 990 here.