IRS “Targeted” Catholic League

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

140px-US-InternalRevenueService-SealBill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, writes: “Just weeks after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I was notified by the IRS that the Catholic League was under investigation for violating the IRS Code on political activities as it relates to 501(c)(3) organizations.” So, that would be when George W. Bush was the President. The recent media attention directed towards IRS investigations of Tea Party, 501(c)(4), organizations, was just too enticing for Donohue. For 501(c)(3) organizations, the IRS requires that the organization “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” It might be interesting to see how well the Catholic League upheld its commitment to this requirement.

Unlike 501(c)(4) organizations, donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are generally tax-exempt. In return for this benefit, these organization agree to the IRS terms and conditions. The language in the IRS specifically designates “political candidates” as being off limits.

However, the September 2008 issue of Catalyst, the journal of the Catholic League, in an article entitled “OBAMA’S PUBLIC POLICY BLUNDERS,” Donohue wrote:

Recently, Sen. Obama has disappointed Catholics again. This time regarding his public policies on school vouchers, faith-based initiatives and selective infanticide.

In the October 2008 issue, Donohue writes of then-candidate Nancy Pelosi: “Pelosi is wildly out of touch with the Catholic Church.” Donohue writes of vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden: “As the only Catholic on either ticket, Biden could have been a real asset to Obama, but instead he has become a liability.” Donohue defends Keith Fimian, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District. Donohue also defends Sarah Palin by noting: “Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s religion has come under severe scrutiny. Unfortunately, some of the coverage has been downright unfair.”

What was the result of the IRS investigation? Acdording to Donohue:

In the end, the IRS concluded that although the Catholic League had “intervened in a political campaign,” it was “unintentional, isolated, non-egregious and non-recurring”; our tax-exempt status remained intact.

Donohue responds:

I intentionally addressed political issues, and did not intervene in the campaign …

However, Donohue’s legal accumen seems to differ from that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of General Counsel, who offers this advice:

A Catholic organization may not directly or indirectly make any statement, in any medium, to endorse, support, or oppose any candidate for public office, political party, or PAC. [Treas. Reg. § 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iii).]

Nonprofit attorney Gene Takagi agrees with that interpretation. Takagi writes that 501(c)(3) organizations “cannot make endorsements (whether in support or in opposition to a candidate); and cannot allow the use of the organization’s resources without giving equal opportunity to other candidates.”

If Donohue wants to issue his political opinions regarding candidates, he is free to give up his organization’s tax-exempt benefit.

H/T: Steve M., David Weigel.

40 thoughts on “IRS “Targeted” Catholic League”

  1. but they all claim that they are giving everything they own to ME.

  2. If the Catholic League wants to take sides re: candidates, it should register as a 501c4. The contributions it receives would not be tax deductions, but they can do political stuff. Oh, right, the whole purpose is make those deductions tax deductible for the contributors.

  3. The Catholic League should, in no way, be construed as a charitable entity, as it spends none of its time, as one can tell, in charitable causes, but all of its time in political vitriol.

  4. Interesting exchange on the topic:

    Starting at the 1 minute mark… Tim Byrnes, starting at 10 minute mark, especially… (Tim Byrnes, Professor of Political Science at Colgate University)

    http://www.wcny.org/ivorytower

  5. Michael Powell,

    A posting that might be of interest:

    The Casualties of Justice

    Friday, 17 May 2013

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16415

    “The death of Jim Crow laws in 1965 was supposed to mean the end of government persecution of African-Americans, while a scathing new report and data from a growing chorus of experts say otherwise.

    International terrorism always gets headlines. Getting much less attention is the ongoing government-sanctioned terror against blacks in America.

    This is not hyperbole. The problem is real, and systemic, and a new report out this month confirms it.

    Terror is terror, and it often ends in incarcerating the innocent – or worse.

    Domestic terror against blacks includes a death count at the hands of “police, security guards and vigilantes,” resulting in the fatality of an African-American every 28 hours.”

  6. Michael Powell 1, May 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

    How about story on How Connecticut police, judges, prosecutors, states attorneys, and public defenders target minority men for their own financial gain?

    ================

    http://youtu.be/KjlX7esSFII

  7. If unions are tax exempt they shouldn’t be allowed to give to political candidates should they?

  8. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, writes: “Just weeks after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I was notified by the IRS that the Catholic League was under investigation for violating the IRS Code on political activities as it relates to 501(c)(3) organizations.” So, that would be when George W. Bush was the President. The recent media attention directed towards IRS investigations of Tea Party, 501(c)(4), organizations, was just too enticing for Donohue. For 501(c)(3) organizations, the IRS requires that the organization “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” It might be interesting to see how well the Catholic League upheld its commitment to this requirement.

    Unlike 501(c)(4) organizations, donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are generally tax-exempt. In return for this benefit, these organization agree to the IRS terms and conditions. The language in the IRS specifically designates “political candidates” as being off limits.

    However, the September 2008 issue of Catalyst, the journal of the Catholic League, in an article entitled “OBAMA’S PUBLIC POLICY BLUNDERS,” Donohue wrote:

    Recently, Sen. Obama has disappointed Catholics again. This time regarding his public policies on school vouchers, faith-based initiatives and selective infanticide.

    In the October 2008 issue, Donohue writes of then-candidate Nancy Pelosi: “Pelosi is wildly out of touch with the Catholic Church.” Donohue writes of vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden: “As the only Catholic on either ticket, Biden could have been a real asset to Obama, but instead he has become a liability.” Donohue defends Keith Fimian, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District. Donohue also defends Sarah Palin by noting: “Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s religion has come under severe scrutiny. Unfortunately, some of the coverage has been downright unfair.”

    What was the result of the IRS investigation? Acdording to Donohue:

    In the end, the IRS concluded that although the Catholic League had “intervened in a political campaign,” it was “unintentional, isolated, non-egregious and non-recurring”; our tax-exempt status remained intact.

    Donohue responds:

    I intentionally addressed political issues, and did not intervene in the campaign …

    However, Donohue’s legal accumen seems to differ from that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of General Counsel, who offers this advice:

    A Catholic organization may not directly or indirectly make any statement, in any medium, to endorse, support, or oppose any candidate for public office, political party, or PAC. [Treas. Reg. § 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iii).]

    Nonprofit attorney Gene Takagi agrees with that interpretation. Takagi writes that 501(c)(3) organizations “cannot make endorsements (whether in support or in opposition to a candidate); and cannot allow the use of the organization’s resources without giving equal opportunity to other candidates.”

    If Donohue wants to issue his political opinions regarding candidates, he is free to give up his organization’s tax-exempt benefit.
    ————————————————————————————
    THEY’RE ALL FULL OF SHI_+. Screw them and their tax codes. They can’t find their as* with both hands and a flashlight.

  9. A ‘Marine’ for Catholics Sees a Time of Battle

    By PAUL VITELLO

    Published: May 14, 2009

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/nyregion/15donohue.html?_r=0

    Excerpts:

    William A. Donohue, the perennially indignant president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, had no sooner finished a conference call with reporters Wednesday, in which he demanded the firing of a new White House aide, when CNN called.

    …Mr. Donohue walked to a frame, prominently displayed on a shelf, containing a still from the 2007 episode of the animated television series “South Park” in which Mr. Donohue was parodied: In the picture, Mr. Donohue is shown wearing the pope’s tall hat, his unmistakable receding hairline and square-framed black glasses captured, uncannily, by the pen of the artist.

    “In the episode, they have me overthrow the pope because the pope is a wimp, and then I take over the church and give it some guts,” he said, making a fist.

    Pope Donohue also sentences Jesus to death for heresy. Mr. Donohue does not mention that.

    “But in the end, Jesus kills me,” Mr. Donohue said with a jolly laugh.”

    (Here’s the full episode:

    Fantastic Easter Special

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s11e05-fantastic-easter-special )

  10. Donohue and Bill O’Reilly must be cousins…pompous, blowhard, Irishmen.

    1. Bill Donohue is just another loud obnoxious right wing shill. There is nothing remotely admirable about him-he has been around for years and yes he is similar to O’Reilly talking over people and bullying. He is just another example of what the right wingers have to offer these days -this one Catholic-he seems to be angry now at all the pedophile cases and seems to have made some statement that appear to make the victims look responsible. Another twice married hypocrite braying like an ass and reminiscent of that bragging Pharisee in the Temple that Jesus didn’t have much use for.

  11. Bill Donohue is a hero – well, an antihero – of mine.

    This is a guy who pulls down nearly half a million bucks every year solicited from the faithful. He is a one-man wrecking crew – his “league” is himself and a secretary.

    The guy gets a seat at the table for any discussion in the media which has anything to do with his philosophical agenda. If he wasn’t so bug-eyed vituperative and aggressively defensive he could have become a household name.

    He is a model for how to manipulate the media whilst making a very good living indeed in your pajamas. If atheism had a few people like this guy, we would be a lot farther along to accomplishing our agenda.

  12. Michael Powell,
    The place to make story suggestions is the “Corrections” page. Dropping the exact same comment into discussions at random is not helpful. If you have a specific story in mind, flesh it out with some details and a link, then leave it in the “Corrections” page.

  13. Is the “Catholic League” on a par with The Ivy League? What is this “League” apCray? Are they in League with Pedophile Priests? Are the Pedophile Priests divided into two separate Leagues in the U.S. on a geographical basis? Is there, for example a National League of Pedophile Priests? Is there a Directory of Pedophile Priests? Can I call the Catholic League to determine if there is a Pedophile Priest Near Me or my kid?

  14. How about  story on How Connecticut police, judges, prosecutors, states attorneys, and public defenders target minority men for their own financial gain?

    ________________________________

  15. Yeah sit in a service and you tell me this story again….. I wanna hear the one about the whale…..again…..or turning water into wine…. Jeremiah was a bull frog…. He was a friend of mine….

  16. This guy is such a blowhard-and a loud mouth to boot! And most of what he says has the logic of an turnip!LOL

  17. Dear Professor Turley, Please print my statement…. Bill Donohue needs to be exposed as the WORM he is……….

Comments are closed.