Vice President Kamala Harris has recorded a video endorsing Democrat Virginia Terry McAuliffe, but the video is clearly a violation of federal law.
The video will be shown in more than 300 black churches across the Commonwealth of Virginia, reports say.
CNN reporter Eva McKend said the video went public Sunday and will be aired through Nov. 2. The message “will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe,” McKend reported.
Harris does not hide her endorsement of McAuliffe in the video. She openly urges parishioners to “vote after today’s service,” and adds that, “I know that you will send Terry McAuliffe back to Richmond.”
NEW — More than 300 Black churches across VA will hear from @KamalaHarris btwn Sun. and November 2 in video message that will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe.#VAGOVtake our poll - story continues below
— Eva McKend (@evamckend) October 16, 2021
This is all illegal. It is illegal for an elected official to make such an endorsement, and it violates the Johnson Act.
According to the IRS:
In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.
Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining 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.”
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.
Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
Churches are allowed to engage in voter education activities, But not outright electioneering.
In essence, the vice president has put the tax-exempt status of these 300 or more churches at risk.
But Democrats being what they are — and Democrats being in charge of the corrupt Department of Justice — you can bet that nothing will happen.
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