CREW Files IRS Complaint Against Living Word Christian Center
Washington, DC -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today filed an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint against the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, MN for violating IRS law by openly endorsing state Senator Michele Bachmann’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Churches, like Living Word Christian Center, are absolutely prohibited from intervening in elections for any public office. This prohibition is a condition of the very favorable tax benefits public charities receive under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
On October 14, 2006 Ms. Bachmann delivered a campaign stump speech from the Living Word Christian Center’s pulpit and the church’s pastor, Mac Hammond, openly endorsed her candidacy. Pastor Hammond’s comments and Ms. Bachmann’s speech were made during the Living Word Christian Center’s weekend services, presented before the entire congregation and broadcast over the Internet. By using church resources to promote the candidacy of Ms. Bachmann, the church jeopardized its tax status.
Excerpts from Ms. Bachmann’s speech and the pastor’s endorsement can be found in CREW’s complaint at www.citizensforethics.org. Videos of the speeches are available at YouTube.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today, “the IRS has pledged to investigate non-profits that violate the law. So far the IRS has targeted only progressive organizations such as the All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, the NAACP and Texans for Public Justice.
“This complaint and the clear evidence supporting it should spur the IRS to investigate the Living Word Christian Center and all 501(c)(3) charities that abuse their status, regardless of ideology.