Main | Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mormons, Prop 8, And The IRS

Steven Greenstreet of the American News Project reports on the investigation into the Mormon Church and their financial involvement in Yes On 8. From his email to me:
Mormon leaders broadcast an hour long training video via satellite to hundreds of churches in 5 states in the weeks leading up to the election. While only 4 minutes of the video was released publicly, ANP has obtained the audio and text of the entire hour. In it, Mormon leaders outline a war plan for assuring the passage of Proposition. They promise to produce "several multimedia pieces" including "print, radio, television, and internet video", they mention the "blossuming" of yard signs and the establishing of call centers.

But none of these items were accounted for in financial records. Also, protesters are calling for the IRS to strip the church of its tax-exempt status. IRS law says that religious organizations cannot engage in a "substantial" amount of political lobbying. But how does the IRS define "substantial"? They don't. On top of that, unlike other non-profit groups, churches do not have to open their financial books to anyone. This is a possible loop hole that many practitioners hope the IRS quickly addresses.
Here is Greenstreet's report:

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