IRS sued for monitoring U.S. churches

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
By Paul Martin

Agency allegedly used atheists to ID ‘churches that might have criticized politicians’

Bob Unruh
WND.com
Nov. 24, 2014

In a lawsuit settlement with the atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had monitored churches for allegedly illegal political activity, but the details never were released because the group withdrew its complaint.

Now, Washington watchdog Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS seeking any records relevant to IRS monitoring of churches and other tax exempt organizations regarding alleged political activity.

The suit requests access to the communications that went on between the IRS and FFRF about the issue.

The atheist organization filed a lawsuit in 2012 alleging the IRS ignored its complaints about the speech of churches that cite the Bible regarding issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

FFRF said the statements violate the law, because the moral issues were being addressed in a political arena.

The atheists also complained of what they called “blatantly political” newspaper ads on the religious and moral issues.

Then, in June, an agreement was reached in which the IRS admitted it had been monitoring churches and other houses of worship for “electioneering and other political activity.”

Judicial Watch said that according to June 27 IRS letter to the Justice Department, the IRS has targeted 99 churches it said merited “high priority examination” for allegedly illegal electioneering activities.

The church-targeting was determined by an IRS ‘Political Activities Referral Committee.”

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