Holder, former IRS chief taught black churches how to skirt tax code

It’s been drowned from the conversation by the drums of war against Syria, but the controversy over the IRS targeting conservative groups to benefit President Obama’s re-election efforts hasn’t been completely silenced.

An editorial on IBD.com Friday should help raise the volume again.

ericholderThe editorial reported that in 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder and then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman personally conducted a “pep talk” in Washington for leaders of the nation’s black churches to coach them on how to use the church influence to get black voters to the polls without endangering the churches “non-political” tax-exempt status.

So the same IRS that was hounding anti-Obama tea party groups in Ohio for alleged political involvement that made their tax-exempt status questionable had a commissioner who was mentoring pro-Obama black churches how to stay just within the bounds of the law.


According to IBD, there is no evidence of direct White House involvement, but Holder’s personal presence – and his personal relationship with Obama — suggests it was considerable. And while the mainstream media makes much of the fact that Shulman was appointed by George W. Bush, he was also a frequent visitor to the White House in 2012, and his wife is a senior adviser to a lobbying firm with deep ties to unions and other liberal groups.

In short, this sounds like an Obama campaign operation using the offices of the United States government.

The U.S. tax code specifically prohibits churches from “participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.” But the point of the Holder-Shulman seminars was to help them do just that, IBD reported.

“There are so many things that you can do and you should do,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told the clergymen, according to IBD. “You are permitted to endorse a candidate in your individual capacity as a citizen. You can appear on a (TV or radio) program away from the church and be presented as the pastor. You can do that.”

According to IBD, Butterfield told the clergymen “the IRS does not have the authority to tell a church how it conducts its affairs.”

On the other hand, it can prod conduct in certain directions. In fact, the editorial quotes U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver telling an MSNBC interviewer at the time: “We want to let [the pastors] know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process. We’re going to encourage them to encourage their people” to vote.

Interesting that Eric Holder and company have no qualms about telling clergymen about their theological responsibilities.

But it’s an encouragement that seems to have been limited to reliably liberal denominations, according to IBS.

“Non-black clergy were not afforded the same legal training in campaigning tactics by the Obama administration,” the editorial states.

Now, why would that be?

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


17 thoughts on “Holder, former IRS chief taught black churches how to skirt tax code

  1. ExRepug says:

    The horror! Explaining the applicable Treasury Regulations and Revenue Rulings to a group that invited them to speak. Such audacity.

    (This is the quality of “journalism” one gets from pretend-tax experts.)

    1. ThomasD says:

      Telling anyone how to skirt, or outright break, the rules governing the endorsement of specific candidates is not ‘explaining the rules.’

      Journalism of any quality simply cannot overcome lack of reading comprehension.

      1. ExRepug says:

        No one advised these groups how to break the law. They were educated on what the law is. The same education can be acquired by reading the IRS’s regulations, Revenue Rulings, Counsel technical guidance memos, case law, and tax publications. They can also take advantage of the agency’s educational outreach program, which furnishes speakers and panel members to fora such as the one sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.

        Too bad this article passes for “journalism.” And my sympathies to your family for their support throughout your struggle with reading and research disabilities. Once you overcome that, perhaps you will read some of those same materials that the IRS speakers will summarize for the attendees at conferences, CPA seminars, trade association meetings, and bar association continuing education.

        1. Kenneth Clark says:

          Apparently the guests attending this little Progrssive rally have the same deficiencies as you described above and they required a lead them by the hand tour of how to live on the fringes by America’s leading experts in twisting the law and reading between the lines. Kinda like one of their other mentors, Mr. Clinton when he had a problem defining the word “is” during his impeachment. Simply products of our inept public school system… Trash in, trash out.

        2. Margie says:

          They were educated which clearly shows they did not have the intelligence to figure it out for themselves and had no plan to do it until they were showed the “way”.

    2. john s says:

      While they let others from an opposite political ideology twist in the wind for over a year – with no response. The horror is the lie of equal treatment. But if one side can get away with such blatant treatment, guess what will happen next time the GOP are in power?

      1. ExRepug says:

        No one prevented other groups from inviting speakers under the agency’s educational outreach program. CPA associations, bar associations, universities, trade associations — all take advantage of the free speaker/panelists offered by the IRS. So any group with an opposite political ideology from the churches who attended the forum sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus was either unaware of the outreach program or didn’t care to take advantage of it.

        1. Kenneth Clark says:

          More than likely it was closed to anyone of the opposite political persuasion and color. It is absolutely amazing to me that one group of people can be as racially biased as they please without any accountability at all while other groups are hammered and labelled because their political views are different.

    3. Rick Caird says:

      I guess you didn’t notice only certain “reliably liberal” churches were coached. Next you will tell us it is only “reliably liberal” churches that needed help understanding the rules. “The horror” that “reliably liberal” churches are so uninformed. I guess that is the quality of comments we get from liberals.

      1. ExRepug says:

        I guess you didn’t notice that this forum was sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. As part of its educational outreach the IRS will send speakers and panelists to any group that extends an invitation to the agency. So I guess you didn’t notice that the Tea Party Caucus didn’t avail themselves of this opportunity to provide a forum for “reliably” conservative groups to learn what is permissible political activity and what is impermissible partisan election intervention. Too bad.

        1. Kenneth Clark says:

          The Tea Party and other conservative groups didn’t need coaching and leading. They had already seen the activities the progressive groups had been coached to do and were simply following the rules. Why would they want to invite a progressive speaker to tell them what they couldn’t do because their political stance is opposite of the speaker?

        2. Rick Caird says:

          You seem to have forgotten that TEA Party groups, like OFA, are organized as political organizations while churches are not. In fact, they fall under different parts of the tax code. The equivalence you are trying to raise would be if conservative churches were trying to see what they could do politically and still stay tax exempt as churches. However, conservative churches do have their own caucus and are not favored groups under the current administration.

          Nice try, but you are still misleading readers.

  2. momoseven says:

    Certainly the liberal elites don’t care about the black parishioners, but they know that black parishioners look up to their pastors and bishops, as if they were their sovereign kings and will think and do what they “preach.” The liberal elite are only too willing to cash in on their votes, after a little bit of coaching.

  3. MannieP says:

    Typical Democrat behavior. The Party of corruption. The IRS suppression of Republican votes coupled with their encouragement of Democrat votes has invalidated the 2012 election. We do not have a valid President. The Treasonous Criminal Zerobama is nothing but an illegal Usurper.

  4. Abunchofbullshit says:

    Nice Eric, you and your man have used and manipulated the Black community every way possible, and have given them NOTHING back unless you count their increased unemployment! Might I suggest a nice vacation to Mexico to maybe see the results of ‘Fast and Furious’!

  5. DocScience says:

    Some people have become more equal than others in the progressive world.

    1. Kenneth Clark says:

      Not “more equal”. The Progrssives will never equalize themselves to the common people. We’re to small to consider relevant. Only they are relevant and count.

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