Who needs the IRS when we have fake churches to launder political cash?

Right on schedule, Trump fakes delivery of another campaign promise.  Right-wing, authoritarians have long advocated against any prohibition against bonding politics and religion, claiming it infringes on their rights of free speech and religious expression.

This is not a new battle between right and left, and is not restricted to the U.S.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Today we commemorate Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla (1862), one year after the end of Mexico’s Reform War (1858–61).  The Reform War was a civil war fought over the issue of separation of church and state.  Liberals believed in freedom of religion and separation, while Conservatives favored union between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican State.  After the war ended, French occupation continued under the rule of Napolean III. The French won the Second Battle of Puebla, May, 17 1863, eventually taking Mexico City, creating a Second Mexican Empire.

Emperor Trump’s EO (executive order) directs the IRS not to take “adverse action” against the tax-exempt status of churches and other religious organizations who engage in political speech. His action undermines the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which prohibited churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

I tend to view this as an expansion of the SCOTUS’s Citizens United decision which “legalized” unlimited “Dark Money” to fund campaign “speech.”  This will give charities and religious groups the opportunity to skim big political contributions, foreign and domestic, and allow the church or charity to sprinkle holy water on a vast new universe of tax exemptions  – money laundering 101.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, since The Johnson Amendment is actually a federal statute – an amendment to Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code on tax-exempt charitable organizations.  Can Trump’s EO trump existing federal law?

Vive L’Epereur!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1tKq3HZ4PA

Vive L’Empire!

2 thoughts on “Who needs the IRS when we have fake churches to launder political cash?

  1. I think your comment on this being an extension of Citizen’s United is spot on. The intent of the order may have been to spur a bunch of lawsuits, of which at least one has been filed and several more on the way. Let them work their way up to the SCOTUS, and another decision could render religious political speech the same status as corporate political speech.

    The laundering aspect just adds to a whole litany of ways to fund campaigns. But it also opens up a lot of other avenues for dissent: time for a church of the wild? Full of pagans and heathens getting tax-free monies to preach about wilderness and biodiversity during campaigns and in congress/legislatures?

    Of course, the problem with all this is that when the next president rescinds this EO (assuming the country still exists), all of that political activity of 501(c)(3)’s is still on the books and can be prosecuted (unless scotus has acted). And as the EO just orders the IRS to look the other way, the next president could have the IRS scrutinize activities done under Trump’s EO. All the IRS regs are still in place prohibiting political activity.

    Should be interesting to watch, though!


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