Yucca Valley, Ca.- (Opinion) Did some candidates, in their zeal to win votes, step beyond Internal Revenue IRS boundaries that regulate a Church’s tax exempt status? While enthusiastic church underlings may have authorize gatherings to introduce a candidate, he or she may not have cleared it with Church Deacons, who should seek advice from the IRS.
Thy Shall Not Speak.
I have to wonder about the wisdom of booking a political candidate to speak at a church sponsored breakfast, lunch or dinner, just prior to any election. There are IRS rules and voter laws regarding churches providing a platform for an official candidate for office to address the church members.
While a church could declare “the candidate shall not speak about politics,” the IRS rules apply even if the candidate simply reads their grocery shopping list to those in attendance! The churches are required to comply with the FPPC regulatory agency by giving the candidate an “in-kind” donation slip and must be reported as such in the campaign statement.
Church Gambles Their Tax-Exempt Status?
While most churches may scold their members for purchasing one lotto ticket, they are willing to roll the dice regarding their tax-exempt status by providing voting advice or providing a platform on their premises for a candidate to speak. That is a pretty big gamble to lose their tax-exempt status and why would any candidate place their church sponsor in jeopardy?
Now that the Primary Election is behind us, we can look back at some of the campaign decisions that took place.
I wonder…….will we see any repeats before the November election?