Aren’t there laws against religions becoming directly involved in political activities? The Mormon Church has raised $10 million for Yes on 8, has pressured members to phone bank and donate, and the campaign has threatened businesses that donated to No on 8. Now they’ve been – uh – outed, they are backing down. Guess they didn’t expect to get so much unwanted publicity.
Well heck, let’s give them lots more. Let’s see if the Mormon Church has violated tax-exempt statutes by being so directly involved. And if so, then yank their non-profit (and tax-free) status.
From the IRS on the tax exempt status of organizations, emphasis added.
Section 501(c)(3) describes corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literacy, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in section (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
Substantial Lobbying Activity
In general, no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying). An IRC section 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.
No on Prop. 8. Get involved now.
Update: As for who specifically could sue, Sue asks Could gay couples sue IRS over LDS’ Yes on Prop 8 activities?