Paul L. Caron

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.

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TaxProf Blog headline: IRS Asked to Investigate Florida Evangelist's Sermon: "If You Vote for Mitt Romney, You Are Voting for... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 2, 2007 7:13:38 AM

» Electioneering and Tax Law: from The Volokh Conspiracy
Tax-exempt organizations -- including religious organizations -- aren't allowed to expressly support or oppose the election of candidates, or the enactment of legislation. General public education, including advocacy, is fine, b... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 2, 2007 8:58:25 PM

» Could it be ... Satan?! from Don't Mess With Taxes
On the heels of yet another IRS release detailing political activity no-nos of tax-exempt groups comes a test of those standards (21 in all, detailed in Rev. Rul. 2007-41). Seems that Florida televangelist Bill Keller on May 11 posted on his Web site a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 3, 2007 2:24:06 PM