We are the 99%

March 23, 2006

Tricky Ricky Santorum News

First up, from the New York Times (via AmericaBlog)

WASHINGTON, March 20 — Weeks after the Internal Revenue Service announced a crackdown on political activities by churches and other tax-exempt organizations, a coalition of nonprofit conservative groups is holding training sessions to enlist Pennsylvania pastors in turning out voters for the November elections.

Experts in tax law said the sessions, organized by four groups as the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, could test the promises by the tax agency to step up enforcement of the law that prohibits such activity by exempt organizations.

Such a test could define the boundaries for churches and other groups.

[snip]

The first training session, on March 6 in Valley Forge, included a videotaped message from a single candidate, Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who faces a difficult re-election fight.

"I encourage you to let your voices be heard from the pulpit" on vital issues, Mr. Santorum said, urging the pastors to champion a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to a recording made by a person at the session. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a liberal group critical of the effort, provided the recording to The New York Times.

After the tape, organizers offered participating pastors copies of the senator's book "It Takes a Family."

[snip]

Pennsylvania appears to be the sole state where advocacy groups are pouring so much into working with churches so early. The outcome of the effort, and the way the tax agency responds, could have an influence far beyond the state.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) alleging that a get-out-the-vote training session offered by the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN) may have violated IRS rules governing charities.

According to CREW:
As §501(c)(3) organizations, the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Urban Family Council are barred from engaging in any activity that supports or opposes a candidate. This prohibition extends to implicit candidate endorsements and events designed to suggest a favored candidate. Sponsoring get-out-the-vote training in which Senator Santorum delivered a message, but the Senator’s opponent in a closely contested race, Bob Casey, was not invited to do so, likely constitutes impermissible political activity.

[snip}

CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan said “it appears that rather than engaging in legal, non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts, the real mission of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network is to assist Senator Santorum in his re-election campaign. This is exactly the sort of political activity prohibited by IRS law.” Sloan continued, “the IRS has already taken action against a liberal church in Pasadena, California for much less egregious activities. If the IRS is serious about enforcing the law equally, it will take action against those involved in creating the Pennsylvania Pastors Network as well.”
And, then there's this amusing bit at Atrios:
Just caught last week's Veronica Mars on Tivo. Plot involved someone blackmailing gay students. At one point the fake name used by the blackmailer was "Rick Santorum."
Time to rid PA (and the Nation) of the embarrassment of Santorum.

2 comments:

Braden said...

LOL You people have a lot of nerve. Where are you people when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (just to name the first two who come to mind) do stuff like this? If you ask me, if one wants to know what Democrats themselves are up to, just watch them accuse the Republicans; this way you can be rest assured that the Democrats themselves are guilty of it. Works every single time. Gee whiz, Maria; perhaps you should get on the IRS's case and complain about Jesse Jackson's rainbow coalition which does nothing more than extortion. Yep, that's right, extortion. Jesse Jackson, the man who goes to various corporations and threatens a discriminatory lawsuit unless the corporation "pays" some money to his organization, at which case Jesse Jackson then walks away and moves on to the next "victim." Gee, Maria, where do you stand on that? Oh wait, Jesse Jackson's a Democrat, and when you're a Democrat, it's just different. Ooops, my mistake.

Rick said...

well put Braden. I perused your blog and found a wealth of balanced opinion. let's see, i'm sure you mention a Republican flaw somewhere in here. . . .

hmm, nevermind.