IRS needs to scrutinize tax-exempt groups
It is about time the Internal Revenue Service gave more scrutiny to the tax-exempt status of some political and religious organizations. Of course, organizations and churches are free to say whatever they like under the First Amendment, but if they wish to be tax exempt, then they must comply with tax laws and regulations regarding political activity.
In September 2012, I wrote the IRS commissioner of the Tax Exempt Division about the political activities of a right-wing not-for-profit organization during the last presidential campaign. I copied Sen. Max Baucus on the letter because of his position as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, so I hope I was one of many bringing this concern to their attention. In my letter, I specifically questioned the tax-exempt status of I Pledge Sunday, a simulcast event sponsored by the Family Research Council and presented in evangelical churches across the country before the election. It was self-billed as the largest pre-election gathering of Christian voters in the nation. Scheduled presenters at this event had called President Obama a street thug, claimed that he was a foreign-born Muslim, and accused him of waging a war to "de-Christianize" America, so I doubted that the tone and substance of the simulcast would be nonpartisan.
The IRS has strict requirements regarding political activities of not-for-profit organizations with tax-exempt status. I asked the commissioner how such highly politicized churches and organizations, such as those broadcasting and airing this simulcast, were able to keep their tax-exempt status when their leaders so actively pursued a political agenda on such a large scale. It seemed to me that they were not in compliance with the law for 501(c)3 organizations. I hope this issue will be examined as part of any Congressional investigation into the IRS, but since the GOP-controlled House is in charge, I doubt if that will happen. The top priority for Republicans seems to be destroying President Obama, and since they couldn't defeat him in the election, then the next step is to fabricate scandals and impeach him.