The following are answers to frequently asked questions about interacting with policymakers to advocate for cancer research. If you have a concern that isn’t addressed here, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are my representatives in Congress?
Visit the AACR’s legislative action center and simply type in your ZIP code to determine who your federal and state representatives are.
Can federal employees participate in advocacy activities?
Government employees are permitted to participate in advocacy activities while they are on personal time. Federal employees have a constitutional right to petition Congress, provided they act in a personal capacity or in a representative capacity on behalf of the AACR or other organization.
That said, it is important to learn the specific rules associated with your position. For example, you may be required to take certain steps to clarify that you are expressing your own views rather than those of the agency or office for which you work.
Are there restrictions on non-government employees who participate in NIH-related activities?
Anyone participating in NIH peer review activities, advisory committee meetings, grant making or other NIH functions may engage in advocacy activities on their own time as long as there is no additional expense to the government and advocacy activities do not interfere with their responsibilities to NIH.
More information: NIH Health Ethics Program: Lobbying Activities
Does the AACR support or endorse candidates for public office?
The AACR is a non-profit, tax exempt organization guided by the regulations of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides that such organizations may not directly or indirectly participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office.
Therefore, any member who wishes to support or oppose a political candidate must do so as an individual citizen rather than as a representative of the AACR.
Where can I find ideas and resources to advocate for cancer research?
Helpful tips for communicating with Congress and other information about the legislative process can be found here. We also encourage you to join the AACR Cancer Action Alliance to receive breaking news alerts and learn about opportunities to join other scientists, patients, survivors and concerned citizens in calling on Congress to provide critical funding increases for lifesaving cancer and biomedical research.