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Thread: Scientologists gave $50,000 to Jeff Stone's 2010 California senate campaign

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Scientologists gave $50,000 to Jeff Stone's 2010 California senate campaign

    Interesting, tax exempt organization making political contributions! Nice bullet...Anyone care to load this gun?

  2. #12

    Default Re: Scientologists gave $50,000 to Jeff Stone's 2010 California senate campaign

    What with the Los Angeles Times covering all the municipal corruption (Bell, Vernon, etc.), would thye be interested in knowing about this for their Inland Empire edition?

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    Thumbs up This is for all the lurkers who might be unclear on the concept

    Consider this a public service announcement!

    From: http://www.advanceusa.org/church_involvement.asp

    "The Law on Church Involvement in Political Activity

    The ACLU threatens legal action against churches, the press repeats allegations of violations, and politicians feign horror at politically-involved churches. What is truth and what is hype?

    No church can be prohibited from exercising free speech rights or the free exercise of religion. In fact, the tax-exempt status of a church has been revoked by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only once for engaging in overtly political activity (and that revocation was merely temporary). Churches and non-profits are free to be involved in political issues as long as no candidate or party is endorsed.

    Since many churches and religious organizations fear to speak and to act boldly on the important political issues of the day for fear that the IRS will revoke their tax-exempt status, AdvanceUSA has posted this information in order to help pastors and other religious leaders better understand the types of political involvement in which they can safely and legally participate.

    How churches are categorized by the IRS?
    Churches are classified as organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Of the two types of 501(c)(3) organizations, most churches and schools are classified as public charities rather than "mutual benefit organizations." These organizations are described as:

    Organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international sports competition... or for the prevention of cruelty to 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 subsection (h)), and which does not participate in. or intervene in (including or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

    What Political Activities by Churches are Permitted?
    The Congressional Research Service findings on the political activities of tax-exempt organizations state the following.

    Clearly, IRC 501(c)(3) organizations may not do such things as make statements that endorse or oppose a candidate, publish or distribute campaign literature, or make any type of contribution, monetary or otherwise, to a political campaign. On the other hand, IRC 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed to conduct activities that are not related to elections, such as issue advocacy, lobbying for or against legislation, and supporting or opposing the appointment of individuals to non-elective offices.

    Church Political Activity Chart — This resource offers an easy-to-read summary of the following information.

    Issue Advocacy — Churches may support or oppose legislation or ballot initiatives as long as no candidate is mentioned or endorsed. The issue advocacy should not be associated with an election for public officials or be biased in favor of a particular candidate. Sermons on moral and social issues and civic involvement are permissible as well as education on the political process and other political, social, or legislative issues. Churches may circulate petitions or encourage members to speak their opinions concerning proposed legislation, non-elected political appointments (non-elected judges, cabinet appointments, etc.), or other political issues. (p. 11*).

    Voter Registration — Churches may conduct voter registration drives as long as no candidates are endorsed. If any candidates are named or depicted, all candidates for that particular race must be named or depicted on an equal basis. (p. 10-11*).

    Inviting Guest Speakers — Churches may invite a candidate to speak as long as no official endorsement is made, no fundraising occurs, and the other candidate(s) are also invited to speak. Candidates may also be invited to speak in their non-candidate capacity as long as no reference is made to the election or their candidacy. Particular facts and circumstances may influence how IRS would view a "non-candidate" capacity, situation, such as the proximity to the election date, and whether campaign issues are discussed. (p. 10*).

    Voter Guides — Churches and other non-profit organizations can produce voter information guides as long as the material does not show an explicit or implicit bias in favor of a particular candidate. Voter guides should cover a wide range of issues and allow each candidate's views to be accurately and sufficiently expressed. (p. 9-10*).

    Public Forums — Churches may host public forums in which candidates speak or debate. All qualified candidates for a particular office must be invited, and the questions asked and topics discussed must cover a broad range of issues and come from an unbiased panel. The moderator should make it clear that the church does not endorse any particular candidate, and the moderator should refrain from "editorializing" on questions submitted. (p. 10*).

    Political Activities of Leaders (Pastors) and Members — Church employees and members may participate in political campaigns in their private capacity. They may not be compensated by the church for any expenses they might incur from their political activity. While a person's church membership or employment may be disclosed at political functions, there should be no indication that his or her views represent the church or religious body's views. Personal endorsements of candidates may not be published in any church publication or announced using church resources. (p. 12*).

    Website Links — Churches may link to a website that shows preference to a particular candidate as long as other candidates are similarly accessible. The IRS will also consider the nature of the link, the directness of the link, and the reason for the link (for example, to provide information to members about all the various candidates). (p. 12*).

    Selling Mailing Lists and Other Business Activities — Churches may rent goods, services, and facilities to political campaigns as long as the services are an ongoing business activity of the church, available to the general public, available to all candidates, and all fees charged are customary and usual rates. (p. 11-12*).

    *Note: Page numbers listed refer to the original document in printed form. If viewing the report in Adobe, page numbers will be slightly different.

    To view a chart summarizing areas of legal church political involvement click here. To download a printable version of the chart click here.

    What Political Activities by Churches are NOT Permitted?

    Official Endorsements — Churches may not officially endorse or oppose any political candidate and maintain tax-exempt status. Pastors or other church officials may not endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit or in church publications such as bulletins, websites, or broadcasts during an election campaign season. (p. 8*).

    Campaign Contributions — Churches may not contribute financially to a political party, political action committee, or candidate and maintain tax-exempt status. (p. 8*).

    Bias — Churches may not show favorable or unfavorable bias toward a candidate or political party. For example, churches may not distribute biased voter guides or show favoritism to a political candidate. Furthermore, churches may not invite a candidate to speak in his/her capacity as a political candidate unless the other candidate(s) is(are) given equal opportunity. (p. 8*).

    *Note: Page numbers listed refer to the original document in printed form. If viewing the report in Adobe, page numbers will be slightly different.

    Source: CRS study

    Additional Resources on Church Political Involvement:

    Congressional Research Service: Political Activity of Tax-Exempt Organizations
    Internal Revenue Code
    FRC and ADF on Political Activities for Pastors and Churches
    IRS Reports on Political Activity Compliance Initiative
    OMB Watch: Problems with New IRS Guidelines
    News on Church Political Involvement:

    Legal Group Tells IRS to Back Off Intimidating Churches
    Lawyer Challenges IRS On Behalf of Churches
    Church Faces Trouble For Mixing Politics with the Pulpit
    Group Requests IRS Inquiry into Two Maryland Churches
    Americans United for Separation of Church and State Uses Scared Tactics to Intimidate Churches
    Group Files Complaint Against Minnesota Church Over Candidate Endorsement
    Promoting Issues from the Pulpit: Debate Gets Sharper as Election Day Approaches
    Pastors and Churches Make a Difference in Marriage Initiatives and Political Campaigns
    IRS Warns Churches to Avoid Campaigning
    Catholics Free to Speak Out on Issues
    The Taxman Goes to Church: Why is the IRS in the business of reading sermons?
    OMB: As Elections Near, New Complaints of Partisan Activity Filed Against Religious Groups
    Churches Can Do Plenty in Advance of Election Day
    National Catholic Register: Church Muzzled by IRS on Issues? No, Church Organizations Say
    Churches Launch Huge Voter Drive
    South Dakota Official Promotes Pro-Life Position From Pulpit


    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...


    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
    ... The power to tax involves the power to destroy ...


    Chief Justice John Marshall, McCulloch vs. Maryland"

    This all may be wasted effort on my part, if they all really do think that wog laws don't apply to them...


    From: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/...161131,00.html

    "Charities, Churches and Politics

    The ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches was created by Congress more than a half century ago. The Internal Revenue Service administers the tax laws written by Congress and has enforcement authority over tax-exempt organizations. Here is some background information on the political campaign activity ban and the latest IRS enforcement statistics regarding its administration of this congressional ban.

    In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.

    Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

    The IRS has published Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which outlines how churches, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Also, the ban by Congress is on political campaign activity regarding a candidate; churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena. The IRS also has provided guidance regarding the difference between advocating for a candidate and advocating for legislation. See political and lobbying activities.

    Earlier this year, the IRS released the results of its 2006 Political Activity Compliance Initiative which investigated allegations of political campaign activity by 501(c)(3) organizations during the 2006 campaign season. For the 2006 election cycle, the IRS received 237 referals and selected 100 (44 churches, 56 nonchurches) for examination. More than half of these cases are still under investigation. However, the IRS did substantiate improper political activity in 26 cases and issued written advisories. So far, there are no revocation recommendations. (In 2004, the IRS selected 110 cases for examination, issued 69 written advisories, revoked the tax-exempt status of five organizations and proposed revocation for two others.)

    Politics plays absolutely no role in audits. A team of career IRS employees review complaints submitted by the public and determine which allegations merit further review. An independent review confirmed that political considerations played no role in IRS decisions to further investigate allegations of political campaign activity. You can read the report here.

    Each election cycle, the IRS reminds 501(c)(3) exempt organizations to be aware of the ban on political campaign activity. The IRS published its most recent reminder in a public news release which you can read here.

    The division within the IRS responsible for overseeing churches and charities is the Tax Exempt and Government Entitities Division. TEGE has created a Web page entitled Charities, Churches, and Educational Organizations - Political Campaign Intervention. It is dedicated to the IRS most recent activities related to 501(c)(3) and political activity.

    A definitive court case on the issue of free speech and political expression is Branch Ministries Inc. versus Rossotti. In that case, the court upheld the constitutionality of the ban on political activity. The court rejected the plaintiff church's allegations that it was being selectively prosecuted because of its conservative views and that its First Amendment right to free speech was being infringed.

    The court wrote: "The government has a compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of the tax system and in not subsidizing partisan political activity, and Section 501(c)(3) is the least restrictive means of accomplishing that purpose."

    Updated July 12, 2007"


    From: http://atheism.about.com/od/churches...chpolitics.htm

    "Tax Exemptions vs. Church Political Activity
    Current Policies & Laws

    By Austin Cline, About.com Guide

    Although there are a great many benefits which accompany becoming a tax exempt charitable trust, there is one significant drawback which has caused quite a bit of debate and not a few difficulties: a prohibition on political activity, specifically participation in political campaigns on behalf or any particular candidate.

    It is important to understand that this prohibition does not mean that religious organizations and their officers are cannot speak out on any political, social, or moral issues. This is a common misconception which some have capitalized on for political purposes, but it is absolutely incorrect.

    By not taxing churches, the government is prevented from directly interfering with how those churches operate. By the same token, those churches are also prevented from directly interfering with how the government operates in that they cannot endorse any political candidates, they cannot campaign on behalf of any candidates, and they cannot attack any political candidate such that the effectively endorse that person’s opponent.

    What this means is that charitable and religious organizations which receive a 501(c)(3) tax exemption have a clear and simple choice to make: they can engage in religious activities and retain their exemption, or they can engage in political activity and lose it, but they cannot engage in political activity and retain their exemption.

    What sorts of things are churches and other religious organizations allowed to do? They can invite political candidates to speak so long as they don’t explicitly endorse them. They can speak out about a wide variety of political and moral issues, including very controversial matters like abortion and euthanasia, war and peace, poverty and civil rights.

    Commentary on such issues can appear in church bulletins, in purchased advertisements, in news conferences, in sermons, and wherever else the church or church leaders would like their message to be transmitted. What does matter, however, is that such comments are limited to the issues and do not stray towards where candidates and politicians stand on those issues.

    It’s fine to speak out against abortion, but not to attack a candidate who supports abortion rights or to tell a congregation to urge a representative to vote for a particular bill which would outlaw abortion. It’s fine to speak out against war, but not to endorse a candidate who is also opposed to war. Contrary to what some partisan activists might like to claim, there are no barriers preventing the clergy from speaking out on the issues and there are no laws forcing clergy to remain silent on moral problems. Those who claim or even imply otherwise are deceiving people — perhaps deliberately.

    It is important to keep in mind that tax exemptions are a matter of “legislative grace,” which means that no one is necessarily entitled to tax exemptions and that they are not protected by the Constitution. If a government doesn’t want to allow tax exemptions, it doesn’t have to. It is up to taxpayers to establish that they are entitled to get any exemptions which the government allows: if they fail to meet that burden, the exemptions can be denied.

    Such denial is not, however, an infringement upon their free exercise of religion. As the Supreme Court observed in the 1983 case of Regan v. Taxation With Representation of Washington, “a legislature’s decision not to subsidize the exercise of a fundamental right does not infringe the right.”

    Suggested Reading
    Churches & Tax Exemptions
    Religious Tax Exemptions: Court Cases
    Separation of Church & State: News
    Church & State Issues
    Pledge of Allegiance
    Ten Commandments
    Church/State Myths
    Related Articles
    Court Decision Religious Tax Exemptions: Walz v. Tax Commission of New York
    Religious Tax Exemptions vs. Government Policy: When Charities Aren't C...
    Alan Keyes on the Issues - U.S. Government Info/Resources
    January 10, 2006
    Commercial Tax Exemptions for Church Businesses: Tax Exemptions & Religion"

    From: http://www.rutherford.org/articles_d...article_id=601

    "2/28/2006

    Responding to IRS Report Citing Churches for Political Activities, Rutherford Institute Issues Guidelines for Churches

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Responding to a recent report issued by the IRS showing that nearly three-quarters of 82 tax-exempt organizations investigated nationwide during the 2004 presidential election campaign had participated in some form of prohibited political activity—including 37 of 47 churches that were examined, The Rutherford Institute has issued guidelines for churches on the do’s and don’ts of political involvement, especially in regard to activities that could jeopardize their tax-exempt status. A copy of “The Rights of Churches and Political Involvement” is available here.

    In issuing these guidelines, John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, stressed the importance of churches fully understanding their legal rights and liabilities. “Tax exemptions for churches and religious organizations are a privilege and not a constitutional right. In fact, to acquire and maintain this privilege, churches and religious organizations may have to forsake heretofore protected constitutional rights under the First Amendment,” said Whitehead. “However, this does not mean that religious individuals and, in some instances, religious institutions must completely forego their rights to free speech. That is why The Rutherford Institute is providing this useful guide, which is designed to help those churches who want to engage the culture do so lawfully.”

    “The Rights of Churches and Political Involvement” provides church leaders and congregants with an explanation of the law as it applies to churches under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3), which stipulates that no substantial part of a tax-exempt organization’s activities may consist of carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, nor may the organization participate in political campaigning in opposition to, or on behalf of, any candidate for public office. The Institute’s guidelines address general church involvement in political or legislative activity, as well as the extent to which churches may criticize or endorse candidates and churches may distribute voter guides. The guide’s legal presentation includes the latest Supreme Court decisions and most recent statutes and activities of the Internal Revenue Service. Any churches with questions about their rights are encouraged to contact The Rutherford Institute’s Legal Hotline at (434) 978-3888 or email legal@rutherford.org.

    Founded in 1982 by constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights."
    Last edited by SweetnessandLight; 9th June 2011 at 11:37 PM.
    Yes, you can fly, but first you have to break out of that cocoon. You are capable of self rescue at all times. "Every blade of grass has its own special angel watching over it and whispering, 'grow...grow'." -The Talmud "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be, for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our disposition, and not upon our circumstances." -Martha Washington

  4. Thanks Free to shine, TG1, degraded being says "thank you" for this post
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  5. #14
    Crusader SweetnessandLight's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Scientologists gave $50,000 to Jeff Stone's 2010 California senate campaign

    Some print news on the electronic reporting issue:

    http://www.pe.com/politics/gang/stor...5.4007bcb.html


    RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Benoit wants campaign reports filed electronically
    10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, June 4, 2011

    By DUANE W. GANG
    The Press-Enterprise
    Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit is proposing a law that would require candidates for county office to electronically file campaign finance disclosure reports.

    The move would boost transparency and prevent candidates from delaying disclosure by mailing in the required reports, Benoit said.

    "Literally hundreds of such reports are filed with the Registrar of Voters office each reporting period," Benoit wrote in a measure headed to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

    "It is extremely difficult for members of the public, the media and election officials to efficiently review and compare these statements," he said.

    The county already has a system that allows candidates to electronically file the reports, which detail campaign fundraising and spending. The documents then are available for public viewing on the registrar's website.

    Under current rules, a candidate or political action committee can file the documents in person or mail them, provided the postmark meets the deadline.

    In those cases, a staff member must physically scan each report before it can be posted online. The documents often run dozens of pages. Delays can result.

    Benoit said some might mail the reports on deadline to delay public disclosure.

    It will cost $15,000 in staff time to initiate and draft the proposed ordinance if supervisors sign off on the proposal Tuesday. But over time, Benoit said, his proposal will save money since staff will no longer have to scan large amounts of paperwork.

    In a telephone interview, Benoit said he wants the county's ordinance in place in time for next year's elections and to mirror requirements for state candidates.

    Those require candidates or committees raising $25,000 or more per election cycle to electronically file the disclosure reports. In addition, the state requires a candidate to report within 24 hours any contribution of $1,000 or more that comes in the last 90 days before an election.

    Benoit said he wants that provision incorporated into a local law.

    "It is that way at the state level, and it should be that way at the county level," Benoit said.

    Board Chairman Bob Buster said he can support the proposal.

    "I think the time is right for that," he said. "We are all talking about making things easier and quicker to do."

    Disclosure allows the public to determine who is backing a candidate and how campaign money is spent, Buster said.

    "This is a good way to do that in the quickest manner possible," he said.

    Benoit first raised the idea to require electronic filing in February when Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed campaign contribution limits.

    Benoit, who opposes limits, suggested electronic filing would be a better approach for campaign-finance reform. Limits, he said, could force money into independent expenditure committees that often have less oversight.

    Stone withdrew his proposal for contribution limits when his colleagues didn't support the idea.

    Reach Duane W. Gang at 951-368-9547 or dgang@PE.com
    Yes, you can fly, but first you have to break out of that cocoon. You are capable of self rescue at all times. "Every blade of grass has its own special angel watching over it and whispering, 'grow...grow'." -The Talmud "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be, for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our disposition, and not upon our circumstances." -Martha Washington

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