Kamala Harris video urging churchgoers to vote for McAuliffe may be illegal

Some lawyers suggest that the video violates Internal Revenue Service rules for churches that are tax-exempt under Section 501(씨)3 of the IRS code. It is not clear whether any churches have played it yet.

I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment,” 해리스 says in the video. “Early voting has already started, and this is the first year that you can vote on Sunday, so please vote after today’s service, and if you cannot vote today, make a plan to go vote.

조나단 털리: VP HARRISMCAULIFFE ENDORSEMENT VIDEO MAY VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW

조나단 털리, a professor at George Washington University Law School, cited the statute, which extends tax-exemption to entities that donot participate in, or intervene in [including the publishing or distributing of statements], any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for public office.

Vice President Kamala Harris boards Air Force Two in Newark, 뉴저지, 금요일, 10 월. 8, 2021, to return to Washington.

Vice President Kamala Harris boards Air Force Two in Newark, 뉴저지, 금요일, 10 월. 8, 2021, to return to Washington. (AP 사진 / 재클린 마틴)

He cited the Johnson Amendment, which states that tax-exempt groupsare 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.

The statute further adds thatcontributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position [verbal or written] made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Jean Baran, a partner at Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak PLLC, suggested that the statute may not apply to the video in question.

This assumes the church is speaking. Are the pastors making the statements or Harris?” Baran told Fox News.

President Biden participates in a campaign event with candidate for Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, at Lubber Run Park in Arlington, 여자 이름, 칠월 23, 2021.

President Biden participates in a campaign event with candidate for Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, at Lubber Run Park in Arlington, 여자 이름, 칠월 23, 2021. (REUTERS/에블린 혹스타인)

Turley rejected this suggestion.

“그만큼 actual rule … does not simply limit the prohibition to ‘intervention,'” he told Fox News in an email statement. “It includes participating and specifically references publishing or distributing statements. Moreover, the church speaks by featuring the video, particularly knowing in advance [as here] that the video will be calling the faithful to vote for McAuliffe. It is actively seeking to distribute that message to the faithful.

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An election lawyer who spoke with Fox News on condition of anonymity suggested that the video likely does violate the Johnson Amendment.

If Kamala Harris actually is specifically endorsing a candidate, and churches are showing this in their churches, that seems like it would be a pretty clear violation of the Johnson Amendment,” the lawyer said. “I think them showing the video would make it their speech, basically.

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