[Sayma-Announce] Safety Watch from SafeChurch - Churches and Political Campaigns

Liz Perch, SAYMA adminasst at sayma.org
Wed Oct 17 09:25:57 EDT 2012


Carol Nickle suggested I forward this to SAYMA Friends.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	FW: Safety Watch from SafeChurch - Churches and Political 
Campaigns
Date: 	Fri, 12 Oct 2012 12:15:55 -0400
From: 	Carol Nickle <carolnickle at comcast.net>
To: 	Liz Perch <adminasst at sayma.org>
CC: 	Tim Lamm <tlamm40403 at gmail.com>, Kristi Estes <QuakerKristi at aol.com>



Liz,

Would you please forward this to monthly meeting clerks and SAYMA 
representatives? You could also send  it to the announcements list 
serve. It is unlikely that any SAYMA monthly meetings are violating the

IRS regulations, but it is helpful information.

Thanks!

carol nickle (SAYMA clerk)

    *From:*SafeChurch [mailto:info at safechurch.com]
    *Sent:* Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:07 AM
    *To:* carolnickle at comcast.net <mailto:carolnickle at comcast.net>
    *Subject:* Safety Watch from SafeChurch - Churches and Political
    Campaigns

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    **

    *A Churches “Dos and Don’ts” During a Political Campaign*

    With a presidential election looming next month, it is a good time
    for churches to review Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations
    concerning participation in political campaigns. This article is not
    intended to comment on the merits of the current IRS regulations –
    about which there is rigorous debate in the religious community –
    but instead to summarize the current regulations so that churches
    are informed about them and the penalties for violation, which the
    IRS says can include “revocation of tax-exempt status and the
    imposition of certain excise taxes.”

    Under the current law, churches are “absolutely prohibited” from
    directly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign
    on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. 
    This limitation is not, however, intended to “restrict free
    expression on political matters by leaders of churches … speaking
    for themselves, as /individuals/,” nor to prohibit church leaders
    from speaking about important issues of public policy.  It does,
    however, prohibit church leaders from making partisan comments at
    church events or in official church communications while speaking on
    behalf of the church.

    Perhaps a few examples of permitted – and prohibited – activity can
    best bring an understanding of the law.  According to the IRS, the
    following activities are permitted:

      * Distributing neutral voter education guides and holding voter
        registration or get-out-the-vote drives, as long as they are
        conducted in a non-partisan manner without endorsing any
        particular candidate;
      * Inviting a candidate for office to speak or holding a public
        forum, provided that other candidates for the same office also
        are invited to speak, the church does not endorse a particular
        candidate and no fundraising occurs;
      * Personal statements of church leaders on political matters, as
        long as they are not made at an official church function or in
        an official church communication (including websites) and with a
        statement that the comments are the personal opinion of the
        speaker and not representative of the church as a whole; and
      * Advocating on a public policy issue (such as a pending bill in
        Congress) without favoring or opposing a particular candidate.

    Examples of prohibited activities include:

      * Endorsing a particular candidate’s campaign or urging the
        congregation to vote for a certain candidate for office;
      * Contributing to a political campaign or fundraising on behalf of
        the campaign;
      * Inviting only candidates from one party or viewpoint to speak at
        the church or to be part of a public forum; and
      * Distributing a biased (non-neutral) voter guide or other
        communication about the candidates.

    These examples are not exhaustive and, thus, churches are encouraged
    to review the following publications for additional information from
    the IRS on what the current law allows during this campaign season:

      * *IRS’ Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations
        <http://www.up0.net/c.html?ufl=f&rtr=on&s=eax7,tam3,1020,3wqm,7lm7,mged,fjl5&MLM_MID=1366779&MLM_UNIQUEID=ffc85b10e9>
        */(pgs. 7-15)/

      * *IRS’ Guidance on Restriction on Political Campaign Intervention
        by 501(c)(3) Organizations
        <http://www.up0.net/c.html?ufl=f&rtr=on&s=eax7,tam3,1020,jj7x,ef94,mged,fjl5&MLM_MID=1366779&MLM_UNIQUEID=ffc85b10e9>*

    /The information contained in this newsletter provides general risk
    management ideas only. Any program adopted by your institution
    should be tailored to the needs of your entity. In addition, it is
    advisable to seek legal and other professional advice when adopting
    risk management procedures./

    	

    *October 10, 2012*

    **

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