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Last login: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The issue at hand is not whether or not folks had the right to support the passage of Proposition 8 based on their religious understanding.
What IS at issue is the right of an organized and tax-exempt religious entity, the Church of Latter Day Saints in this case, to expend dollars on a political campaign.
The IRS rules are very clear about the role than ANY non-profit agency may play in lobbying re legislation (and state ballot initiatives are considered legislation). The IRS says that non-profit agencies may expend only up to 5% of resources (everything from staff time, copy paper, utilities, travel, etc ... to direct financial support) in lobbying its members or the public on legislation. Or, barring that, to apply for 501(c)h status which would allow for potentially larger expenditures, but would impose a dollar cap on those expenditures.
In this case, the Mormon Church did not have the right to participate at the extraordinary level that it did. That's the point. We could be talking about any non-profit agency. But we're talking about the egregious level of participation by a religious organization which used tax-exempt funds (supported by the government and, by extension, the rest of us) to illegally drive a campaign.
June 22, 2010 at 3:47 p.m.
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