Office of Legal Affairs External Opinions
Office of the General Counsel
External Opinion: 98-47
. . . whether 45 CFR Part 1608 prohibits voter registration activities by non-attorney personnel in LSC-funded legal services programs.
Robert K. Hickerson, Executive Director
Alaska Legal Services Corporation
1016 West Sixth Avenue, Suite 200
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Dear Mr Hickerson:
This is a response to your request for an opinion on whether 45 CFR Part 1608 prohibits voter registration activities by non-attorney personnel in LSC-funded legal services programs.
Part 1608, the Legal Services Corporation's regulation on prohibited political activities, does prohibit any employee of an LSC-funded recipient from engaging in voter registration activities. Two provisions in Part 1608 address this issue. Section 1608.6(c) prohibits recipient attorneys from engaging in voter registration activity while they are engaged in LSC-funded legal assistance activities. It provides that:
While engaged in legal assistance activities supported under the act, no attorney shall engage in... (c) Any voter registration activity.
Section 1608.4 extends this prohibition to all recipient employees. It provides that:
No employee shall use any Corporation funds for activities prohibited to attorneys under Section 1608.6; nor shall an employee intentionally identify or encourage others to identify the Corporation or a recipient with such activities.
The second clause of this provision prohibits identifying the recipient with any voter registration activity. Thus, even if non-LSC funds or no funds supported the activity, no recipient can be identified with voter registration activity.
I hope this adequately responds to your inquiry. Please let me know if I can provide any additional assistance.
/s/ Suzanne B. Glasow
Senior Assistant General Counsel