A training event for pastors in Philadelphia Thursday explicitly advertised to help them elect Doug Mastriano for governor shows why the IRS needs to investigate similar events and church leaders who participate in them.
The event is hosted by Kingdom Empowerment International Ministries and will be run by Pastor Tim Throckmorton, national director of community impact at The Family Research Council – an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a “hate group” because of its anti-LGBTQ ideology.
According to an event description, the training is “for all Pastors & lay people to attend to learn how you can help Douglas Mastriano & Carrie Lewis DelRosso become our next Governor & Lt. Governor. This informational event will provide information for Pastors & their congregants on how they can talk to their congregation concerning politics without endangering their tax exempt status.”
Kingdom Empowerment International Ministries of Philadelphia has clearly crossed a regulatory line by advertising instructional sessions on how pastors may sidestep the IRS code that explicitly, and without any ambiguity, prohibits political activity.
Here’s how the IRS describes activities that would disqualify an organization from a tax free status:
“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”
Kingdom Empowerment International Ministries of Philadelphia, EIN # 26-3856274, was granted its tax exempt status on November 4, 2008. Any pastors who attend also potentially put their churches’ statuses in jeopardy.
All taxpayers are negatively impacted whenever anyone abuses a not-for-profit IRS status to avoid the payment of taxes.
There is a remedy for situations like this: report the violation.
“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is all ears – particularly about complaints alleging any abuse of the tax-exempt status granted to a non-profit organization.”
If you know of a charity that is circumventing the U.S. Tax Code, go here to file a complaint.