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@TrumpStudents booked a rally supporting the re-election of @donaldjtrump for June 23 at the @dreamcitychurch in #Phoenix. Such a rally would be a violation of the Constitution, the federal law, and the IRS rules. 1/x
Congress created a ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches more than a half century ago. In 1954, Congress approved the #JohnsonAmendment to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in any political campaign activity. 2/x
To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened it. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates. 3/x
The law defines a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not 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." 4/x
The IRS administers the tax laws and has enforcement authority over tax-exempt organizations. Every election cycle they remind 501(c)(3) exempt organizations to be aware of the ban on political campaign activity. @dreamcitychurch leaders know what they are doing is illegal. 5/x
In Branch Ministries Inc., v. Rossotti, the court upheld the constitutionality of the ban on political activity. The IRS revoked the tax-exempt status because the church undertook partisan political activity in direct violation of Section 501(c)(3), like @dreamcitychurch 6/x
In 1964, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of Christian Echoes National Ministry, Inc., a religious corporation, in part because “it had directly and indirectly intervened in political campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office.” 7/x…
Another case involved @thewayintnl After a three-year audit the IRS in 1985 revoked the Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status retroactively, in part because The Way had engaged in political activity. 8/x…
Churches can take positions on public policy, but they cannot advocate for a particular candidate. For @dreamcitychurch to hold the rally on June 23 will be a violation of the Constitutional separation of church and state, a violation of the Johnson amendment and IRS rules. 9/x
The decision makers @dreamcitychurch have ignored our letter warning them of these violations & seem to have no fear that this administration will enforce the law against them since they are supporting this administration. Thus the church feels it can ignore the law. 10/x
This legal analysis & history lesson brought to you by the legal team @SecularAZ. Help us to continue our work in promoting separation of church and state issues in AZ by donating today at and help fund our legal and legislative team. 11/11
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