Saturday, June 2, 2007
IRS Asked to Investigate Florida Evangelist's Sermon: "If You Vote for Mitt Romney, You Are Voting for Satan"
Following up on yesterday's post on the IRS's new guidance on what constitutes prohibited political activities by tax-exempt entities: today's Washington Post item Separation of Church and State and Tax Exemptions:
Florida evangelist Bill Keller says he was making a spiritual -- not political -- statement when he warned the 2.4 million subscribers to his Internet prayer ministry that "if you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!"
But the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the IRS should revoke the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of Bill Keller Ministries, nonetheless.
This looks a lot like Situation 6 in Rev. Rul. 2007-41, 2007-25 I.R.B. ___ (6/18/07):
Chairman D is the chairman of the Board of Directors of M, a section 501(c)(3) organization that educates the public on conservation issues. During a regular meeting of M shortly before the election, Chairman D spoke on a number of issues, including the importance of voting in the upcoming election, and concluded by stating, “It is important that you all do your duty in the election and vote for Candidate W.” Because Chairman D’s remarks indicating support for Candidate W were made during an official organization meeting, they constitute political campaign intervention by M. ...
In situation 6 ... the organization intervened in a political campaign within the meaning of section 501(c)(3). ...
If an organization posts something on its web site that favors or opposes a candidate for public office, the organization will be treated the same as if it distributed printed material, oral statements or broadcasts that favored or opposed a candidate.
For more, see:
- Bill Keller Ministries Internet Sermon, If You Vote for Mitt Romney, You Are Voting for Satan
- Bill Keller Ministries Internet Sermon, The Fallout from Taking on Romney
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State Press Release
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State Letter to IRS
Other press coverage:
- Boston Globe: Evangelist in Hot Water over Romney Remark
- Forbes: The Limits of Lobbying
- New York Sun: Romney's Mormon Faith Proves Divisive