Tags: Religion | Judicial Watch | IRS | lawsuit | Churches | tax-exempt

Judicial Watch Files FOIA Suit Over IRS Probes Into Churches

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2015 11:16 AM

On behalf of the Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit seeking documents related to the recent decision by the IRS to re-evaluate the criteria for determining whether churches and other nonprofits can claim tax-exempt status.

Judicial Watch contends that the lawsuit was necessary because the IRS failed to comply with a July 2014 Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). In its request, the alliance sought documents related to "existing, proposed, new, or adopted procedures for church tax inquiries or examinations, changes to Treasury regulations as well as all documents related to new IRS policies or procedures."

After settling a 2012 lawsuit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) — an atheist organization promoting the separation of church and state — the IRS announced that it had promised to re-evaluate the criteria for determining tax-exempt status.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation had accused the IRS of ignoring complaints about churches that promoted political candidates, issues or proposed legislation. The group specifically cited teachings against abortion and same-sex marriage, arguing that doing so violated the law.

In a nationwide protest against the tax law prohibition of churches endorsing candidates, some 1,500 pastors in October used the pulpit to preach politics. Churches claiming tax-exempt status stand to lose that designation if they engage in politicking during sermons.

In July 2014, the IRS announced that according to the terms of an agreement reached with the FFRF, the government agency had been monitoring churches and other houses of worship for electioneering and political activity.

The Judicial Watch lawsuit cites a June 2014 letter from an IRS official to the Justice Department saying that an IRS Political Activities Referral Committee had targeted 99 churches it determined "merited high-priority examination."

The IRS, according to the lawsuit on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom, has failed to respond to the ADF and has not produced the records requested or stated a reason for not doing so.

Judicial Watch has also filed its own lawsuit on the issue.

A lawyer representing the Alliance Defending Freedom said that "the IRS has no business threatening churches on behalf of the anti-religious crusaders at Freedom from Religion Foundation," according to a Judicial Watch news release.

"The IRS must come clean, be accountable to the American people, and reveal the details of the secret deal it cut with the atheist group. The IRS pattern of unlawfully using its power to target and punish ideological opponents and hiding information that Americans have a right to know must end immediately."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
US
Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit seeking documents related to the recent decision by the IRS to reevaluate the criteria for determining whether churches and other nonprofits can claim tax-exempt status.
Judicial Watch, IRS, lawsuit, Churches, tax-exempt
425
2015-16-04
Monday, 04 May 2015 11:16 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved