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Home country: USA
Current location: Virginia
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Hidden in GOP tax bill: A plan to turn churches into dark-money spigots

"The tax bill threatens the integrity of our elections and all of our tax-exempt organizations," Maggie Garrett, the legislative director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in an emailed statement. "No one wants to turn our charitable nonprofits, houses of worship and foundations into political campaign tools."

This provision, Adam Bozzi of End Citizens United explained to Salon, would create "a gaping loophole in our campaign finance system." Bozzi explained it could "allow a big political donor who wants to make a contribution through the back door to give to a church, which could then endorse a candidate and engage in electioneering."

To make it even worse, the tax-exempt status of churches and charities means that any millionaire or billionaire who funneled political spending through such a group could then turn around and claim that donation as a tax writeoff. Money given to a pastor in order to buy his endorsement wouldn't look any different on paper than money given to a church for its charitable work or other legitimate purposes. Republicans are creating a loophole that will allow rich people to shelter political donations from taxes while influencing election campaigns in total secrecy.

The proposed House bill supposedly limits charity or church workers to political endorsements "in the ordinary course of the organizationís regular and customary activities in carrying out its exempt purpose." But that language is both fatally vague and functionally useless. The entire point of the Johnson Amendment is to keep political endorsements out of the usual course of an organization's activities. This bill wouldn't merely let pastors preach from the pulpits in support of a favored candidate; it would also permit Planned Parenthood to recommend candidates to patients who come in for medical care, or permit the Salvation Army to endorse candidates when providing its services to poor people.


More on topic:




"If you're that honest, maybe you should join the Democratic Party." CoreyStewart (R VA loser)

speaking to David Jolly (R FL) on CNN.

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