(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:
They don’t care whether something is legal or not, as they get away with zero consequences.
— Deep State Trades (@CapCube) October 22, 2021
#FJB #LetsGoBrandon Aside from it being a violation of their tax status, this is the same party that would shut churches down in a heartbeat because if you rely on God and community you don’t rely on government.
— Foster Beauregard (@srmarielavoe) October 22, 2021
Jesus would probably toss tables after watching these frauds.
— #RespectTheChart (@69Rsi) October 22, 2021
Don’t black churches believe in honoring the law?
— Kelvin Findlay (@kgfindlay) October 23, 2021
Done by democrats because they know there will be no adverse action by IRS – because democrats
— Squid 🎚⚓️ (@sbcarter117) October 23, 2021
This gang is accustomed to skating with no accountability.
— RosieCat (@JunePer58060182) October 23, 2021
Because they know absolutely no one will hold them accountable. When a political party weaponizes every Federal law enforcement agency, it’s easy to flagrantly violate the law.
— Nashville Neanderthal (@akaBarni) October 23, 2021
This administration does not care about the rule of law.
— Mark Stone (@mstone0954) October 23, 2021
They’re above the law…..
— Tweeter (@TweeterHair) October 23, 2021
Across the US, churches and other orgs with tax-exempt status observe a myriad of LAWS to preserve that status. The administration repeatedly and arrogantly violates US LAW and the Constitution. As long as there is no accountability, it will repeat repeat repeat.
— In a way Trump was right.🗽 (@DottyG11) October 23, 2021
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