Although ASM firmly supports the legal rights, fair treatment and due process under the law for microbiologists, the ASM's participation in legal or or specific interests involving individual members is circumscribed by its mission1 and tax status.2 To engage in legal activities for an individual member could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the Society and the significant benefits that ASM and our members currently enjoy. The ASM, therefore, limits its advocacy for educational and scientific “principles” of microbiology. In the past, ASM has participated in amicus curiae briefs in order to bring the science of microbiology to bear on legal issues of concern to microbiology and the public welfare.
The ASM's Public and Scientific Affairs Board has a primary goal of educating policy makers and attempting to ensure that public policies are based on the best scientific advice. ASM is dedicated to fulfilling its educational and scientific objectives on behalf of the science and interests of microbiology. The ASM is also committed to the principle that science should serve the public interest and supports public policies that advance the microbiological sciences and protect the public health, safety and security.
ASM members who wish to bring an issue involving the science of microbiology and the law to the attention of ASM for potential action, should send a letter to the ASM Secretary, who after consultation with ASM legal counsel and appropriate ASM committees will transmit a recommendation to the ASM Council Policy Committee for action.
1 ASM's Constitution and Bylaws limit the activities of ASM to educational and scientific purposes.
2 The internal revenue service classifies ASM as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Under the conditions of this status, the ASM may not engage in the following activities: any political campaign; any substantial lobbying; and any substantial activity not related to the fulfillment of its exempt educational and scientific purpose. Included in this list of impermissible activities are substantial professional advancement activities; lobbying for professional advancement purposes and activities directed toward the benefit of the profession of microbiologists rather than the science of microbiology. Substantial relates to the overall activities and budget of the ASM.