Saturday, November 17, 2012
On the heels of a presidential election in which hundreds of preachers publicly promised to flout IRS rules by endorsing candidates from the pulpit, the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the IRS for failing to enforce electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations.
Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the lawsuit charges that Douglas Shulman, the commissioner of the IRS, "has violated, continues to violate and will continue to violate in the future, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by failing to enforce the electioneering restrictions of 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code against churches and religious organizations." ...
In a news release, the Freedom from Religion Foundation refers to a Bloomberg BNA story in which Russell Renwicks, an employee with the IRS's Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, was quoted as saying the agency had suspended doing tax audits of churches. The release notes an IRS spokesman later claimed that Renwicks "misspoke," but adds that there "appears to be no evidence of IRS inquiries or action in the past three years."
(Hat Tip: Kristin Hickman.)