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provoman

Threat of lawsuit over Church/State and Prop 2.

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Medical marijuana advocacy group threatens lawsuit over LDS Church involvement in Prop. 2 compromise

Now lets get something out of the way, tax exempt orgs do not have a blank check to conduct legislative activities - which include for or against ballots measures. The tax code does not have a "moral issue" or "social issue" exemption to legislative activities regarding tax exempt orgs.

Edited by provoman

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I’ve always found this issue of tax-exempt and politically active somewhat funny. There’s always a threat to religious institutions and their tax exempt status if they get involved in politics, yet there are many political groups that are tax exempt. Or there are groups that get active politically, such as Planned Parenthood, who not only are tax-exempt, but receive federal funding. In fact, not only do we not bring up their tax-exempt status, but many find it unconscionable to even suggest stripping funding.

Edited by Judd
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1 hour ago, provoman said:

Medical marijuana advocacy group threatens lawsuit over LDS Church involvement in Prop. 2 compromise

Now lets get something out of the way, tax exempt orgs do not have a blank check to conduct legislative activities - which include for or against ballots measures. The tax code does not have a "moral issue" or "social issue" exemption to legislative activities regarding tax exempt orgs.

Anyone can sue anyone else for any reason.  This lawsuit is without merit and will be thrown out of court.  Such meritless suits are political stunts.  In this case by angry anti-Mormons.  Mormons have the same rights as Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and atheists to lobby on behalf of their ethical and moral views.  There are no laws prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from doing so.

31 minutes ago, Judd said:

I’ve always found this issue of tax-exempt and politically active somewhat funny. There’s always a threat to religious institutions and their tax exempt status if they get involved in politics, yet there are many political groups that are tax exempt. Or there are groups that get active politically, such as Planned Parenthood, who not only are tax-exempt, but receive federal funding. In fact, not only do we not bring up their tax-exempt status, but many find it unconscionable to even suggest stripping funding.

There are plenty of tax-exempt groups which lobby on behalf of their pet views -- environmental, religious, political, social, etc.  All perfectly legal.  That is a key part of how American democracy works.  Everyone gets their say.  Then we vote.  There is no reason to muzzle tax-exempt organizations.

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13 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Anyone can sue anyone else for any reason.  This lawsuit is without merit and will be thrown out of court.  Such meritless suits are political stunts.  In this case by angry anti-Mormons.  Mormons have the same rights as Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and atheists to lobby on behalf of their ethical and moral views.  There are no laws prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from doing so.

There are plenty of tax-exempt groups which lobby on behalf of their pet views -- environmental, religious, political, social, etc.  All perfectly legal.  That is a key part of how American democracy works.  Everyone gets their say.  Then we vote.  There is no reason to muzzle tax-exempt organizations.

I don't one needs be an anti-mormon to be upset that a supposed representatitve government appears to be unable to act until it essentially instructed by a dominate religion.

I also don't think one needs be an anti-mormon to be upset that a supposed representative government would perpetuate a Nanny State in direct opposition against the will of the people.

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50 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

"The IRS has published Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which outlines how churches, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Also, the ban by Congress is on political campaign activity regarding a candidate; churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena. The IRS also has provided guidance regarding the difference between advocating for a candidate and advocating for legislation." 

See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/charities-churches-and-politics

"In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying).  A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status."

See https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/lobbying

"Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation, i.e., lobbying, constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial."

See https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/measuring-lobbying-substantial-part-test

It seems the question is really about how much legislative activity is too much. The IRS's guidelines are vague. I'm guessing, though, that the Church's lawyers have a pretty good idea about what crosses the line and feel that the Church's legislative activities do not constitute a "substantial part" of their activities. 

Based on some public statements, I think religious institutions see it as a free speech issue, regardless of the "substantial" test. With that in mind, I don't think the IRS wants to have that battle against religious institutions.

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"Congress shall make no law ... ."

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38 minutes ago, USU78 said:

"Congress shall make no law ... ."

Which really creates a conumdrum, does it free religion from all government regulation? Or are Reynolds and Lemon, good case law?

Edited by provoman

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56 minutes ago, provoman said:

I don't one needs be an anti-mormon to be upset that a supposed representatitve government appears to be unable to act until it essentially instructed by a dominate religion.

I also don't think one needs be an anti-mormon to be upset that a supposed representative government would perpetuate a Nanny State in direct opposition against the will of the people.

The people of Utah just voted and took a position opposed to the official LDS Church position.  It's their right to reject the views of the dominant religion.  You seem unhappy with that.

Are you also unhappy with the right of the Italian people to vote for laws making it possible to violate the views of the dominant religion in Italy?  Italian women can obtain legal abortions, despite opposition from the Vatican and from the Christian Democratic Party.

Quote

Abortion in Italy became legal in May 1978, when Italian women were allowed to terminate a pregnancy on request during the first 90 days. A proposal to repeal the law was considered in a 1981 national referendum, but was rejected by nearly 68% of voters; another referendum aimed at eliminating the restrictions was rejected by 88.4%.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Italy .

Are you opposed to democracy?

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12 minutes ago, provoman said:

Which really creates a conumdrum, does it free from all government regulation? Or are Reynolds and Lemon, good case law?

Reynolds will almost certainly be overturned in the near future.  It was bad case law based on hatred of Mormons.

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4 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The people of Utah just voted and took a position opposed to the official LDS Church position.  It's their right to reject the views of the dominant religion.  You seem unhappy with that.

Are you also unhappy with the right of the Italian people to vote for laws making it possible to violate the views of the dominant religion in Italy?  Italian women can obtain legal abortions, despite opposition from the Vatican and from the Christian Democratic Party.

Are you opposed to democracy?

Your response, suggest to me that you do not seem interested in sincere dialogue on the subject, thanks for your opinions.

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Reynolds will almost certainly be overturned in the near future.  It was bad case law based on hatred of Mormons.

Every person not becoming a law unto themself, via the guise of religion, is good case law in my opinion.

But I can see religious based plural marriage becoming legal, as the Government has a high standard to met in prohibiting religious based plural marriage. 

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18 minutes ago, provoman said:

Every person not becoming a law unto themself, via the guise of religion, is good case law in my opinion...........................

How do you feel about individual rights and liberties, including religious rights?

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24 minutes ago, provoman said:

Your response, suggest to me that you do not seem interested in sincere dialogue on the subject, thanks for your opinions.

Your comments suggested to me that you neither understand nor appreciate constitutional democracy.   Am I wrong?

Singling out this or that special interest group for denial of basic rights is inimical to good order and justice.  Sincere dialogue is only possible when one allows it to take place.

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3 hours ago, provoman said:

Medical marijuana advocacy group threatens lawsuit over LDS Church involvement in Prop. 2 compromise

Now lets get something out of the way, tax exempt orgs do not have a blank check to conduct legislative activities - which include for or against ballots measures. The tax code does not have a "moral issue" or "social issue" exemption to legislative activities regarding tax exempt orgs.

Actually, they do. Tax exempt orgs have a blank check to conduct legislative activities.  Look at any major non profit's 990 and you will see lobbying expenditures. 

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13 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How do you feel about individual rights and liberties, including religious rights?

I think it is clear that I support the ruling of Reynolds. 

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2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Actually, they do. Tax exempt orgs have a blank check to conduct legislative activities.  Look at any major non profit's 990 and you will see lobbying expenditures. 

See the 3rd post herein.

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2 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

"The IRS has published Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which outlines how churches, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Also, the ban by Congress is on political campaign activity regarding a candidate; churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena. The IRS also has provided guidance regarding the difference between advocating for a candidate and advocating for legislation." 

See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/charities-churches-and-politics

"In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying).  A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status."

See https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/lobbying

"Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation, i.e., lobbying, constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial."

See https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/measuring-lobbying-substantial-part-test

It seems the question is really about how much legislative activity is too much. The IRS's guidelines are vague. I'm guessing, though, that the Church's lawyers have a pretty good idea about what crosses the line and feel that the Church's legislative activities do not constitute a "substantial part" of their activities. 

I think you make the mistake of thinking the only non profit tax exempt organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations. 

there are many other tax exempt organizations that spend much of their time advocating political causes.

501(c)(4) organizations, 501(c)(6) organizations commonly spend much of their funds advocating political causes.

501(c)(19) organizations also come to mind. 

The republican and democrat parties are organized as tax exempt organizations.

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18 minutes ago, provoman said:

See the 3rd post herein.

The IRS's ruling is limited to 501(c)(3) organizations.  These are not the only tax exempt organizations.

Edited by Danzo
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3 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Tthe IRS's ruling is limited to 501(c)(3) organizations.  These are not the only tax exempt organizations.

I think the context is clear as pertaining to religions.

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6 minutes ago, provoman said:

See the 3rd post herein.

I would also point out that an IRS revenue ruling is not the same as a treasury regulation. It is quite common for non profits to have lobbying expenses.

A tax exempt organization is required to fill out schedule C of the form 990 if they engage in political activities. For example in 2017 the American Red Cross spent about 260,000 on political activities.

https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/enterprise-assets/pdfs/FY-2017-Form-990.pdf

Boy scouts of america spent 190,000 on lobbying 

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/Form990_2016.pdf

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5 minutes ago, provoman said:

I think the context is clear as pertaining to religions.

Your OP mentioned tax exempt organizations

 

3 hours ago, provoman said:

Now lets get something out of the way, tax exempt orgs do not have a blank check to conduct legislative activities - which include for or against ballots measures. The tax code does not have a "moral issue" or "social issue" exemption to legislative activities regarding tax exempt orgs.

If you want to specifically talk about religions, you should probably mention that in the OP.  Tax law can be complex and it is easy to get the law wrong if we don't use the correct terms.

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6 hours ago, Judd said:

I’ve always found this issue of tax-exempt and politically active somewhat funny. There’s always a threat to religious institutions and their tax exempt status if they get involved in politics, yet there are many political groups that are tax exempt. Or there are groups that get active politically, such as Planned Parenthood, who not only are tax-exempt, but receive federal funding. In fact, not only do we not bring up their tax-exempt status, but many find it unconscionable to even suggest stripping funding.

The Sierra club is another tax exempt organization that is always getting legislation and other things.

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5 hours ago, provoman said:

I think it is clear that I support the ruling of Reynolds. 

You said that "Every person not becoming a law unto themself, via the guise of religion, is good case law in my opinion."  Since Reynolds denied Mormons their constitutional right to freedom of religion under the guise of bad sociology (false sociology), you appear to oppose the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Do I misunderstand you?

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36 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You said that "Every person not becoming a law unto themself, via the guise of religion, is good case law in my opinion."  Since Reynolds denied Mormons their constitutional right to freedom of religion under the guise of bad sociology (false sociology), you appear to oppose the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Do I misunderstand you?

I am detecting lack of sincerity again. I wont be responding to your posts anymore

Edited by provoman

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