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Virginia’s first black governor blasts Kamala Harris for ‘illegal’ political ploy in over 300 black churches

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(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)

The first and only black governor in Virginia’s history, Douglas Wilder, has come out swinging against Vice President Kamala Harris who is endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s second run for governor in a video that is being played in hundreds of black churches throughout the state.

A wrench has been thrown into that brazen political maneuver with the disapproval of the 90-year-old Wilder, who served as governor from 1990 to 1994. He has been a highly respected Democratic voice in the state for decades.

“Well, it’s very good for her to do that, causing these churches to lose their tax-exempt status,” he stated in reference to the Johnson Amendment, which is a rule that prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity, according to the Washington Examiner. “If this is legal, then it’s surprising to me.”

McAuliffe served as governor in Virginia from 2014 to 2018. He has enlisted the support of Harris to gin up black support in the state due to the race being too close to call.

“In Virginia, the Democratic candidate has to have a strong turnout of black Americans. And if [McAuliffe] doesn’t get that, you’re going to see some problems,” noted Wilder, who spoke from his home in Richmond.

“What reasons do they have to turn out?” Wilder asked, alluding to the fact that McAuliffe is not popular among black voters.

Harris didn’t hesitate to pander to black churches in Virginia out of desperation to get McAuliffe elected.

“I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment,” Harris said during the ad while touting Democrats’ “long track record of getting things done for the people of Virginia.”

“So please, vote after today’s service. And if you cannot vote today, make a plan to go vote,” she added.

Both ethics and legal experts contend that the ad is a blatant violation of IRS rules. The ad will reportedly continue to be played in these churches until the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election is held. It is part of the effort by the Democratic Party to ensure McAuliffe beats his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin in the race.

“[Harris’] video is unequivocally expressing advocacy, so charities and churches should not be involved in its production or distribution. It would be a violation of the tax code for charities and churches to do so,” proclaimed Craig Holman of Public Citizen, which is a government watchdog group.

“Politicians have long attended Sunday services in key constituent communities in a transparent bid to court congregations. But the playing of a videotaped endorsement goes too far,” claimed Rob Boston, who is the senior adviser at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and an editor of Church & State magazine.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re doing it on behalf of Democrats or Republicans — houses of worship and other nonprofits are not allowed to intervene in partisan elections,” he asserted. “No one wants their charities and houses of worship to be torn apart by partisan campaign politics.”

“Something this stark obviously raises a serious legal issue,” remarked Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust Executive Director Kendra Arnold. “Elected officials should have to respond to that and explain their behavior.”

The Democrats are also pushing “Souls to the Polls” events that target black churchgoers in Virginia.

“Houses of worship and their faith leaders have robust free speech rights and can speak out on political and social issues. They can host candidate forums and distribute answers to candidate questionnaires; and encourage people to vote, including through voter registration drives and driving people to the polls,” commented Boston. “As private citizens, faith leaders can support or endorse political candidates or even run for office.

“They just can’t, in their official capacity with a house of worship or nonprofit, endorse or oppose a partisan political candidate,” he stated.

“It’s the distinction between supporting citizens’ right to vote and helping them access the polls, versus telling them who to vote for. It’s a stark difference,” Arnold pointed out.

“Federal law is clear that nonprofits and churches cannot participate in political campaigns,” she declared. “They can’t publish or distribute statements in favor of or in opposition to a candidate, period. The video itself is clear. I watched it, and it absolutely gave support for a candidate.”

While Harris and McAuliffe don’t seem to be bothered by the lack of ethics surrounding the ad, Americans definitely are:

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