We reported earlier about how the Democrats were having a video of Kamala Harris play in 300 black churches in Virginia between today and Nov. 2 for people to get out and vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
NEW — More than 300 Black churches across VA will hear from @KamalaHarris btwn Sun. and November 2 in video message that will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe.#VAGOV
— Eva McKend (@evamckend) October 16, 2021
As we noted, that’s against the law.
Under terms of the 1954 legislation (named for its principal sponsor, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson), churches and other nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” according to the IRS website.
Organizations claiming tax-exempt status cannot collect contributions on behalf of political campaigns or make any statement for or against a particular candidate. Clergy are not allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit.
That’s exactly what they did with the Kamala video which explicitly endorsed McAuliffe — they explicitly endorsed a candidate.
But that wasn’t all. It was a much broader effort than just that one video. It also involved multiple Democratic surrogates actually going into the churches and advocating for McAuliffe, including Stacy Abrams and McAuliffe himself, according to ABC News.
Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams on Sunday urged Black churchgoers to turn out for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in next month’s Virginia governor’s election, saying that what happens in the most watched race this year will “show the world who we are” in future contests with even higher stakes.
Abrams has become a leading national voice in the party since narrowly losing the 2018 race for governor in Georgia. With her appearances at three churches in Norfolk, Abrams is joining other political heavyweights in trying to ensure that a state trending increasingly Democratic in recent years does not flip back to the Republican column on Nov. 2. [….]
McAuliffe, governor from 2014 to 2018 and a former Democratic National Committee chairman, visited separate churches and later led a rally with Abrams outside an early voting station. “We gotta get everybody out to vote,” he said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also visited three Black churches in Richmond, according to WSET.
Now, those just reflect the people named in public articles. There are likely other surrogates involved here.
Abrams explicitly advocated for McAuliffe in the churches she visited, not to mention also advocating for politics in churches.
Abrams told the congregations that in McAuliffe’s first term as governor, he increased funding for education and ensured that tens of thousands of former felons and others who had been removed from voter rolls had their right to the ballot box restored. [….]
Abrams said when she first began running for office, she felt mixing politics and church was bad. But, she said, her mother eventually reminded her that “politics is always in the church” and her father said that the Bible “is one of the most intense political texts ever written.”
“Voting is an act of faith,” Abrams said. “I need you to do the job.”
How explicit were they? Listen to this description: they even planned to march people right out from the pews to the polls.
McAuliffe, governor from 2014 to 2018 and a former Democratic National Committee chairman, visited separate Black churches and later planned to lead worshippers from the pews to an early voting station.https://t.co/y2LsMUvxXk
— ABC 13 News – WSET (@ABC13News) October 17, 2021
It’s clear that the Democrats don’t care about the law-breaking here. They don’t care if they endanger the tax status of the churches they are dragging into this. All they care about is getting power and getting McAuliffe elected.
It’s the churches who would get penalized here for breaking the law — they’re the ones whose tax exempt status would be endangered for breaking the explicit prohibition about advocating for a political candidate. But the very broad based nature of the Democratic effort shows how organized and political the effort is, and it would be evidence that could be used against the churches.
Now, while there may have been some shading of this law in the past, this is taking the law and doing a hat dance on top of it in a very organized and explicit way. If this is allowed, then just repeal the law and pack it in, because at this point, Democrats are making a mockery of it with all this.
It also shows that the Democrats are afraid and realize how close this is, that they would go to this length to try to win.