Citizens Project seeking to clarify rules for churches during elections

Filed under: Daily News | Tags:, , ,

Citizens Project, a local nonprofit that champions religious freedom, will distribute information to 400 churches and religious organizations today clarifying IRS laws about electioneering.

“When someone makes a tax-deductible donation to a church or charity, they know that such donations come with the promise they will not be used for partisan political electioneering,” said Citizens Project Executive Director Kristy Milligan in a release. “Donors count on that promise, but understanding what’s legal and what’s not for churches around elections can be daunting.”

Milligan said faith leaders will receive a letter from Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, detailing limitations of 501 (c) 3 organizations when it comes to election-related lobbying.

The distribution is meant to counter the “Pulpit Initiative,” a 2008 program promoted by the Alliance Defense Fund which encouraged religious leaders to endorse candidates from the pulpit, violating IRS law and jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of participating churches.