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Useful Advice: IRS Officials Brief Pastors On Illegal Political Activity

June 4, 2012

Helpful reminders for church officials and pastors: they may not use church resources to endorse or oppose candidates or political parties, nor can they donate money in any way to political candidates.

Partisan political activity is a big no-no for 501(c)(3) organizations.  People are perfectly free to discuss candidates and parties in their own time, as private citizens: but as long as they are speaking on behalf of their organization, or implying that their organization officially supports those views, they cannot.

What about their First Amendment rights to free speech?  They are not affected: as private citizens, they can practice their free speech as much as they want.  Or they can give up their tax-exempt status and say whatever they feel like about any candidate.  But they cannot do both.

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