TV preacher Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice has offered to provide legal assistance to churches if they get in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for handing out Christian Coalition voter guides in the November election.
Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said the ACLJ is contacting eight churches reported to the IRS in December by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (see "Pulpits, Politics and Penalties," January Church & State). If the IRS launches disciplinary action, the ACLJ will provide advice.
"This post-election ploy by Americans United is a biased and flawed attack on free speech," said Sekulow in a Dec. 15 press release. "The effort underway by Americans United is simply an attempt to confuse and pressure churches to refrain from speaking out at election time."
Sekulow charged that Americans United had "targeted only religious conservatives and conveniently ignored a number of churches around the country that distributed information and invited liberal candidates to speak before election day."
Sekulow's charges are inaccurate. Prior to the voter guide filing in December, AU had reported 18 churches and other religious ministries to the IRS for partisan politicking. Six involved Democratic endorsements, nine involved Republicans and the remainder involved third parties or local elections.
Sekulow may have to do some...