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View Diary: Right wing Mega Church in Nashville buys tv time to urge followers to vote Republican (64 comments)

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    trashablanca

    There's this guy in Tennessee named Harold Ford, Jr., maybe ya'll have heard about him...he's running for Senate.
    Anyway, he filmed an ad in his hometown church, and people raised a stink about that.  The church did nothing but open their doors as they have done all along.  That is not "substantial part of the activities of the organization."  They didn't do anything.
    That act of the church was probably not enough to make the church lose it's tax exempt status.  The cornerstone church seems to have done substantially more.

    •  The question would be (0+ / 0-)

      whether allowing him into the church was an implicit endorsement of his candidacy.   Assuming they did nothing more (and there is no identifying information in the ad), its probably okay.   Anything more might have been problematic.

      Note also that the "substantiality" test applies to lobbying, not political activity.   In theory, ANY political activity is grounds for loss of exempt status, although as a practical matter that is not the way it is enforced.

      •  But a candidate can't advocate for themself (0+ / 0-)

        (in terms of ecouraging people to vote for them) from the pulpit.  A candidate does that ONCE, and it is technically a violation.  They can talk about their faith, they can talk (perhaps, depend) about an issue on an informational basis; but brining up the fact that they are running for a Congressional seat is a huge problem.  It's hard to tell without the context of the commercial, but it seems from the description that Ford and the church made an idiotic decision.  

        •  To be honest... (0+ / 0-)

          if it were my client, I'd probably say no, don't do it.   But if there is no indentifying information in the ad, I'd at least have an argument that this didn't rise to the level of an endorsement.

          That beings said, you can have candidate forums where they talk about their candidacy, you just have to invite everyone on the same terms and conditions.   Yeah, like that happened.

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