Maine vote and political fundraising by RC churches

  • a2507

    Posts: 152

    Nov 12, 2009 2:58 PM GMT
    I'm curious. Does anyone know if anyone's looking at the tax exempt status of Roman Catholic churches in Maine? From what I heard they went well beyond sermons in the pulpit to actively raising/donating $ which should raise issues with the IRS......unless I misunderstand the tax laws?
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    Nov 12, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    While churches are not allowed to endorse candidates, they are allowed to go balls to the wall on issues. Time to cut their balls off.
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    Nov 12, 2009 4:01 PM GMT
    I wondered about this because NOM (Maggie Gallagher's group) is refusing to turn over their financial records in Maine, despite a court order to do so. Somebody who seemed pretty knowledgeable about it on another blog told me that it is very unlikely that a church would lose its tax-exempt status.

    My comment:

    "They're just stalling for time so their accountants can cook the books. If they actually disclosed their sources, the LDS church, the Catholic church, Focus on the Family and a lot of other religious institutions would lose their tax-exempt status."

    His reply:

    "I think after the lid comes off, none of the donors are going to be in danger of loosing their tax exempt status. You have to realize that there is almost no financial transparency requirements for churches that are not registered as 501(c) type organizations.

    The reason a front like NOM exists is to shield the donors from obvious sight. NOM also exists for the purpose of manufacturing FUD to be used against target groups, driving contributions and funding administrative overhead (read: executive salaries) of the organization. NOM is a market maker in a "product" that their supporters would rather not be associated with in the mainstream consciousness."
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    Nov 12, 2009 4:22 PM GMT
    Campaign finance reform is one of those issues that is absolutely vital to reform, but so toxic no one wants to touch it. Everyone has dirt on their hands. Everyone. Whether you have run for president of the United States or president of the school board, you have money that you probably shouldn't have.

    Two local examples I can think of involve a millionaire a million dollars each on a dozen races that normally cost, at most $250K and an heir to some manufacturing money dropping $60K on school board races that normally cost $3k-7$k. Both of these were done very publicly and quite blatantly. But how do you investigate when the DA and every politician has some of that money or money like that?

    You would think issue based CFR would be easier, but if hate-crime legislation limits free speech just imagine what the bigots/churches would say if we take away their tax exempt status as well as their tire-iron?

    Good luck on all of that, America. icon_confused.gif
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:10 PM GMT
    Americans United for Separation of Church and State's website is a good source on what Churches, 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations, are allowed to do under current tax law. Churches are allowed/not allowed the same stuff as any other same tax exempt organization. There is a move, however, to allow churches to endose polticial candidates without losing their tax exempt status - something other tax exmept organizations are not allowed to do. Either allow all Tax Exempt organizations to endose candidates or none should be allowed - Let's not allow double standards for churches.

    I regularly get AU's Newsletter Church & State. AU is a great organzation and allows me to stay informed about these type issues. I find the Catholic Church support of blocking same-sex marriage annoying, but it dosn't appear they broke any current tax laws. One thing I would suggest is that gay people do not be Gay Uncle Toms supporting churches working against gay issues.