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Monday, January 16, 2006

Clergy Seek IRS Investigation of Political Activities of Two Large Conservative Ohio Churches

Interesting article in today's New York Times, Group Seeks I.R.S. Inquiry of Two Ohio Churches, by Stephanie Strom:

A group of religious leaders has sent a complaint to the IRS requesting an investigation of two large churches in Ohio that they say are improperly campaigning on behalf of a conservative Republican running for governor.

In their complaint, the clergy members contend that the two Columbus-area churches, Fairfield Christian Church and the World Harvest Church, which were widely credited with getting out the Ohio vote for President Bush in 2004, have allowed their facilities to be used by Republican organizations, promoted the candidate, J. Kenneth Blackwell, among their members, and otherwise violated prohibitions on political activity by tax-exempt groups. They are asking the IRS to examine whether the churches' tax exemptions should be revoked and are requesting that Mark W. Everson, the federal tax commissioner, seek an injunction to stop what they consider improper activities.

Both churches denied that any of their activities violated limitations on nonprofit political activity. "We endorse values, but not candidates," said the Rev. Russell Johnson, Fairfield's leader.

(Thanks to Ann Murphy (Gonzaga) for the tip.)

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/01/clergy_seek_irs.html

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