Posted by Tim
In today's Voice of the People, Fr. Ken Carriveau attempts to excuse the archdiocese's absence of testimony on Bill 326-33 by saying that to do so would have been against "federal guidelines" banning political activity for tax-exempt organizations"
"I suggest that it is not a “case of fear mongering,” but rather, as in my case, a matter of following federal guidelines. Confusion over the ban on political activity by tax-exempt organizations has existed ever since it was first imposed by Congress in 1954."
It's funny to see Carriveau reference "confusion over the ban on political activity by tax-exempt organizations" when Carriveau himself is even more confused. He apparently does not know the difference between political activity and legislative activity. The IRS itself makes this distinction:
Political activities and legislative activities (commonly referred to as lobbying) are two different things and are subject to two different sets of rules and have different consequences of exceeding the limitations.
Bill 326-33 has NOTHING to do with political activity. It is, of course, a legislative activity, and non-profit organizations are NOT prohibited from it:
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. ...
Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.
As you can see, the only restriction on "attempting to influence legislation" is that a tax exempt organization may not make it a substantial part of its activities."
In addition, churches are further exempt because they are not required to obtain tax exempt status because THE ARE AUTOMATICALLY TAX EXEMPT. From IRS Publication 557:
Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023 or 1023-EZ. These include: Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. Any organization (other than a private foundation) normally having annual gross receipts of not more than $5,000 (see Gross receipts test, later). These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).
The completely ridiculous thing about Carriveau's letter is of course is his point that the church did not weigh in on Bill 326-33 prior to its passing the legislature because of this supposed "ban" on "political activity," but apparently the church has no problem violating that "ban" after it has passed the legislature by using its church pulpits to lobby the governor to veto the bill!!!
So let me get this straight. It would have been wrong for the church to use a public hearing to oppose the bill but it is okay to use a Sunday homily to do so. GEEZ!!! That is really too funny if not incredibly sad since it evinces the intellectual capacity of a person entrusted, as a priest, with our salvation!
Of course, many of us remember the many years "the church" had no problem with turning its pulpits into podiums to lobby against the several gambling initiatives. Where was this supposed "ban" then.
The bottom line is that Carriveau does NOT know what he is talking about, or he DOES know, and like so many of our other clergy now, are using the "Fr." in front of their name to purposely mislead us.
We've had enough of their lies or ignorance. You can decide for yourself which it is.