Paul L. Caron

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The IRS Scandal, Day 1409:  'After School Satan Club' Granted Tax-Exempt Status In 10 Days While Conservative Groups Waited Years

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Judicial Watch Press Release, IRS Gives “After School Satan Club” Tax-Exempt Status in 10 Days:

While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes conservative groups wait years for tax-exempt status an “After School Satan Club” launched to hinder Christian-based counterparts got its nonprofit ranking in just ten days, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The classification is offered to charitable, religious and educational organizations that operate as nonprofits. Under the Obama administration IRS political appointees illegally targeted conservative groups, either making them wait up to seven years for tax-exempt status or denying their application altogether. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal and has obtained piles of government records showing how the IRS illegally colluded with another federal agency to single out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as patriot and Tea Party in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status.

In the meantime, leftist groups like the Satan club got fast tracked. The principle goal of establishing the Satan clubs in public schools throughout Washington State appears to be to counter existing enterprises operated by a Christian-based group. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch include the process of establishing an after-school Satan club at Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma. The entity behind the club is a nonprofit called Reason Alliance, which is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, and operates in Washington State as the Satanic Temple of Seattle. Its director, Lilith X. Starr, established the Point Defiance Elementary Satanic club, the records show. In its application the club states that its purpose is “character development” and that adult instructors are vetted by the Satanic Temple’s “Executive Ministry.” Children ages 5-12 will develop basic critical reasoning, character qualities, problem solving and creative expression, according to the Satanic Temple filings included in the documents. The club logo is a pencil with devil’s horns. Records obtained by Judicial Watch from the Treasury Department show that the Satanic cult applied for tax-exempt status on October 21, 2014 and received it on October 31, 2014.

The parent permission forms ask for the name of the child’s church and pastor, the records show. They also reveal that Starr, the Seattle Satanic Temple director, told Tacoma School District Superintendent Carla Santorno that the clubs are led by “caring Satanists” and each child receives a membership card. Starr also tells the superintendent that the effort to establish after-school Satan clubs in Tacoma schools is in direct response to the Christian-based Good News Clubs operating in campuses throughout the district. This ignited concern among some Tacoma district officials, the records show. In one electronic mail exchange, Tacoma Schools official Andrea O-Brien-Henley sends colleague Paul Koch a citation from the Satanic Temple’s website noting that the temple only wants to establish after-school Satan clubs in school districts with Christian Good News Clubs. O’Brien-Henley notes that it’s odd that the Satanic Temple only targets schools that have Good News Clubs, writing to hear colleague: “If they really want to get their message out to kids it seems kind of odd that they would only be targeting schools with a Good News Club; one would think that they would want to start clubs anywhere there is an *interest* in them.”

Here’s the citation that O’Brien-Henley forwarded to fellow school district official Koch from the Satanic Temple’s website: “How do I start an After School Satan Club in my school district? If there isn’t a chapter of The Satanic Temple near you, but you’re interested in starting and After School Satan Club in your school district, please contact The Satanic Temple. Please keep in mind that the Satanic Temple is not interested in operating After School Satan Clubs in school districts that are not already hosting the Good News Club. However, The Satanic Temple ultimately intends to have After School Satan Clubs operating in every school district where the Good News Club is represented.”

In another exchange, the Executive Director of Communications for the Tacoma School District, Dan Voelpel, expresses concern to colleagues that people will confuse the school district’s message of tolerance toward the Satan Club with tolerance toward alleged “hate-related activities around the country in the wake of the presidential election.” In the records the principal of Point Defiance Elementary reveals that, two weeks after the Satan club was launched, no one had signed up for it. The fact remains however, that the IRS fast-tracked a deranged Satanic cult to operate as a nonprofit in taxpayer-funded elementary schools.

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Doug, an organization with a "blatant and obvious political agenda" is not a violation of the First Amendment. I'd suggest that this is the core of it, as opposed to, say, a topless dancer. It's my understanding that the Tea Party groups were asking for 501(c)4 status as nonprofit organizations, just like the ACLU or Sierra Club (both of which proudly advocate a blatant and obvious political agenda) and were not asking for 501(c)3 status as charities.

Posted by: PaulB | Mar 19, 2017 1:42:05 PM

I'm quite sure that if this group had been targeted due to its name or policy positions under a GOP administration, the ACLU would've raised unholy hell...

Posted by: MM | Mar 19, 2017 11:29:01 AM

@ James, Good un.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Mar 19, 2017 10:35:46 AM

Maybe they thought it was a branch office.

Posted by: James Lee | Mar 19, 2017 9:55:25 AM

Hiding political donor lists is not condoned by the IRS, and the IRS has no mandate to monitor religious groups. There. That wasn't too hard to understand.

Posted by: Aracnix | Mar 19, 2017 8:47:51 AM

Doug, that's not the issue here Doug, it's freedom of speech.

Posted by: RiverRat1297 | Mar 19, 2017 8:43:58 AM

And this surprises who?

Posted by: Tom N | Mar 18, 2017 2:43:06 PM

After School Satan Club doesn't have an obvious & blatant political agenda to violate the First Amendment. Conservative groups are ON RECORD as proposing laws that would violate the First Amendment, going so far as to attempt to pack the Supreme Court with conservative jurists who will ignore US law and implement their religious bigotry.

Posted by: Doug Hayden | Mar 18, 2017 1:58:47 PM