• News Ticker alerts

Catholic Answers, a San Diego-based group “dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world,” announced last Friday it will ask the US Supreme Court to intervene and allow the organization to sue the Internal Revenue Service.

In 2004, the group published a voters’ guide and sent two political e-mails to a subscriber group. While the printed guide did not endorse any candidates by name, the e-mails specifically attacked self-proclaimed Catholic and then-Presidential candidate John Kerry for his stance on abortion.

The IRS, in an investigation, ruled that the guide did not violate the group’s tax-exempt status because it did not directly advocate for any given candidate, but found that the e-letters, since they specifically opposed the candidacy of an individual, constituted political expenditures. Catholic Answers was then ordered to pay excise taxes for 2004 and 2005. The IRS eventually reversed its decision, ruling that the alleged political activity “was not willful and flagrant.” The agency refunded the taxes, along with interest.

In April of 2009, Catholic Answers filed suit against the IRS in US District Court, claiming that the levy was a violation of their First Amendment rights and demanding a return of the taxes paid. The case was thrown out, as a refund had already been issued. The Ninth District Court of Appeals refused to allow the suit to be re-introduced, stating “[t]his suit is moot. There is no relief that this court could grant. The tax paid has already been abated.”

  • News Ticker alerts

More like this:

Comments

skellmeyer Oct. 24, 2011 @ 6:34 p.m.

"The IRS eventually reversed its decision, ruling that the alleged political activity “was not willful and flagrant.” "

There's your answer, honey.

It's called "intimidation." According to the IRS, Catholic Answers is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! BWA-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!

But, because the IRS has such a tremendously big heart, it will let Catholic Answers off - JUST THIS ONCE - and rebate the money.

Of course, if Catholic Answers does it again, then WHAMMO! The IRS will punish them all and throw away the key. Because then it WILL be "willful and flagrant" activity, see?

Catholic Answers is concerned about that precedent. But the IRS has insulated its decision by generously rebating the money which it ILLEGALLY CONFISCATED to begin with.

Catholic Answer is asking the court to remind the IRS that the original IRS ruling was ILLEGAL.

By the way, what is it called when you have to explain a newspaper account to the very newspaper that publishes the account?

0

Dave Rice Oct. 24, 2011 @ 6:45 p.m.

From http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=175818,00.html :

"The prohibition against political campaign activity has been in effect for more than half a century and bars certain tax-exempt organizations from engaging on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates. However, these organizations can engage in advocating for or against issues and, to a limited extent, ballot initiatives or other legislative activities."

The IRS does seem to believe that it's against the law for non-profits to speak in favor of or against a political candidate - which is exactly what the Kerry e-mails did. So yes, a second violation of the law after the organization had received a warning and been let off the hook once would seem to be "willful and flagrant."

0

skellmeyer Oct. 24, 2011 @ 6:50 p.m.

Dave,

Do tell! I didn't know that the Congress or the President made laws about who can receive the Eucharist in a Catholic Church!

Could you point me to the part of the federal code that describes what spiritual state the Catholic believer must have in order for proper reception according to federal law?

And here I always thought that it was the CATHOLIC CHURCH that decided who was and wasn't part of it's communion! How stupid I was, not to realize this is part of the federal mandate!

Of course, for years many of the thirteen colonies DID have oaths of office wherein a candidate had to swear that he didn't accept Transubstantiation in order to be sworn into office... maybe you think Catholic Answers ran afoul of THOSE laws?

You're so cute when you say silly things!

0

SurfPuppy619 Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:41 p.m.

The US Supreme Court wont touch his case with a 10 foot pole. DOA. Tell them to save their $455 filing fee.

0

skellmeyer Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:56 p.m.

Maybe not, but the IRS is clearly in the wrong here.

AT NO POINT did Catholic Answers materials tell anyone to vote for or against John Kerry.

All their material did was point out that John Kerry was an excommunicate Catholic. Heck, Joe Lieberman is an excommunicate Jew, for all that (Lieberman's rabbis and community cut him off when he endorsed homosexual marriage).

Catholic Answer material also pointed out that Catholics have moral teachings to follow on five central moral issues: abortion, contraception, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell harvesting (adult stem cell research is morally fine) and homosexual marriage.

It pointed out that Catholics have a duty to eliminate these evils from society or keep such evils from taking root.

Catholic Answers simply reiterated Catholic teaching on those five issues and on reception of the Eucharist. It did not promote or oppose any political candidate.

Whether the Ninth District was correct about it being a moot case is an open question.

In any case, LBJ's unconstitutional infringement on the free speech of religious organizations needs to be struck down. The state doesn't have a right to define what a religion is or religious speech is, and that's what it is doing.

0

SurfPuppy619 Oct. 25, 2011 @ 10:07 a.m.

"Maybe not, but the IRS is clearly in the wrong here."

I have no position on if the IRS is "wrong" or not, I am just giving you the facts- the SCOTUS will not come close to reviewing this case. They get 10K appeals a year and only take 70-80 cases, this will not be one of them, and the costs to appeal-the legal fees and filing fees- are very high. Don't waste good money on this.

It is better to save that money and put it to GOOD use in their mission, where they can help people, not waste it on an appeal that has no chance.

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close