Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Today, the Los Angeles Times reports that "[t]he IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Sen[ator] Barack Obama gave at its national meeting last year after he became a candidate for president." The article further reports that Senator Obama is a member of the 1.2 million-member protestant group through his Chicago congregation, Trinity United Church of Christ.
The article also reports that the IRS said in its letter dated February 20 that it had concerns about articles posted on the church's website stating Senator Obama spoke to nearly 10,000 people at the event and that campaign workers staffed campaign tables outside of the event.
Last, the article points out that 501(c)(3) nonprofits are prohibited from endorsing candidates and providing support to campaigns. Nevertheless, the IRS letter states that, while nonprofits are allowed to invite political candidates to address them, "if a candidate is invited in his or her capacity as a candidate, then other candidates running for the same office must also be invited to speak, and there should be no indication of support for, or opposition to, any candidate by the organization." At the end of the article, a representative for Senator Obama states that he spoke in his personal capacity about his "personal spiritual journey" and that the "speech was not a campaign event."
See Article for complete story.