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By Adelle M. Banks
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Internal Revenue Service has cleared Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson after an investigation into charges that he had violated IRS rules by being involved in prohibited politicking.
Dobson hailed the IRS’ conclusion in a broadcast on his conservative Christian radio program on Monday (Sept. 10) and read from documents he received from the agency.
“Our examination revealed that Dr. Dobson’s reported remarks did not occur in publications of Focus on the Family, did not occur at functions of Focus on the Family, and did not involve Dr. Dobson suggesting that he was speaking as a representative of Focus on the Family,” the IRS said.
The agency spent almost a year auditing Dobson’s ministries after receiving a 99-page request in November 2005 from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which accused him of endorsing Republican candidates and requested the revocation of Focus on the Family’s tax-exempt status.
On his broadcast, Dobson said the Washington watchdog group’s intent was to try to frighten clergy and other nonprofit organizations from addressing moral issues such as marriage, homosexuality and abortion.
“I think the purpose for this was not only to see if they could damage us and maybe shut us up and take us out but to scare every pastor and every nonprofit that’s out there,” Dobson said.
Naomi Seligman Steiner, deputy director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Dobson’s charge was “ludicrous.”
“We want to make sure that every nonprofit in this country obeys both the spirit and the letter of the law,” she said.
The IRS sent letters reaffirming the continuing tax-exempt status of both Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action, its political arm that has greater latitude to be involved in lobbying activities.
Dobson chairs both organizations.
Copyright 2007 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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