Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Santorum "Encourages" PA Churches To Violate Tax Code.


Embattled Pennsylvania Republican Senator, Rick Santorum, produced a video that was passed out at what is described as an illegal “get-out-the-vote” training session organized by the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN), a coalition comprised of 4 conservative groups, two of which are listed with the IRS as §501(c)(3). Under federal law, organizations listed as §501(c)(3) under federal tax code are prohibited to engage in political activities.

The story was first picked up by David D. Kirkpatrick writing for the New York Times on March 21st, and has since been picked up by Rawstory and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has filed an IRS complaint against the PPN alleging that the group is aiding the re-election campaign of Senator Santorum in violation of federal law.

Rick Santorum, via video tape said, “I encourage you to let your voices be heard from the pulpit”, urging the pastors to champion a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to a recording made by a person at the session that was made available to the New York Times.

A warning has been issued by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State regarding the PPN. “This is an under-the-radar campaign to re-elect Santorum,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Pennsylvania pastors are being misled, and they need to be very careful. The Internal Revenue Service is watching carefully for violations of federal tax law this year.”

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