Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Conservatives Join Liberals in Opposing IRS's Threatened Revocation of L.A. Church's Tax Exemption for Anti-War Sermon
Following up on yesterday's story (Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning; All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena Risks Losing its Tax-Exempt Status Because of a Former Rector's Remarks in 2004) (blogged here), the L.A. Times reports today that Conservatives Also Irked by IRS Probe of Churches; Agency's Warning to All Saints Is Part of a Wider Look into Political Activity by Nonprofits:
The IRS threat to revoke the tax-exempt status of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena because of an antiwar sermon there during the 2004 presidential election is part of a larger, controversial federal investigation of political activity at churches and nonprofit groups. Over the last year, the Internal Revenue Service has looked at more than 100 tax-exempt organizations across the country for allegations of promoting — either explicitly or implicitly — candidates on both ends of the political spectrum, according to the IRS. None have lost their nonprofit status, though investigations continue into about 60 of those.
The IRS denies any political motivation behind the initiative it started last year. The Treasury Department's inspector general found in February that there was some mismanagement of the investigations but no indication of them being used as a political cudgel to silence critics of the Bush administration. However, the IRS action has triggered an unusual coalition of critics who say they are concerned about the effect on freedom of speech and religion.
For other media coverage, see: