huck.jpgThe Associated Press reports that the IRS is investigating a California-based Baptist pastor who is backing Mike Huckabee for possibly violating its rules against official church endorsements of candidates. God-o-Meter will give the pastor the benefit of the doubt, but might not have Huckabee encouraged pastors to violate IRS rules, in that he’s campaigning in pulpits across the nation, relies on church-based organizing networks for support, and has looked to pastors as a source of campaign revenue?
Details from the AP:

Southern Baptist pastor Wiley Drake said Wednesday that he is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for his endorsement of GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in a press release written on church stationery.
Under federal tax law, church officials may legally discuss politics, but they cannot endorse candidates or parties in their official capacity as a minister without putting their tax-exempt status at risk….
“After very serious prayer and consideration, I announce today that I am going to personally endorse Mike Huckabee,” the release said. “I ask all of my Southern Baptist brothers and sister to consider getting behind Mike and helping him all you can.”
He added: “I believe God has chosen Mike for such an hour, and I believe of all those running Mike Huckabee will listen to God.”
…. A complaint was filed with the IRS by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.


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