Witherspoon Society Invites IRS Correction
While a portion of a not-for-profit's work can be about lobbying for political issues, exactly zero of its efforts can be directed toward lobbying for any political candidates. Here is how an April 17 IRS statement reads: "By law, organizations exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) may not 'participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.'”
The Douglas Ottati article on pages 30 and 31 crosses the line and puts Witherspoon Society directly in the position of promoting Democratic candidates for president and opposing Republicans. Any pretense of being neutral or not intervening in a political campaign has evaporated.
Ottati asks the readers, "Which Democratic candidate should we support?" He summarizes: "In short, after eight years of W. and his many accomplishments, both foreign and domestic, our chief electoral responsibility seems nicely summarized by a sticker I saw the other day on another friend’s car: 'Enough is enough. Vote Democratic.'"
There you have it--an exempt organization doing exactly what it cannot do: beating the drum for a political party in the election of president. It would be just as guilty if it had hyped the Republican candidate and denigrated the Democratic candidates. I hope the Witherspoon Society is prepared to answer to a no-nonsense Internal Revenue Service, which has pledged to "maintain a meaningful enforcement presence" concerning such violations of law.
But even beyond that legal jeopardy, why would any group whose interests are Christian make its main concern secular partisan politics? Are there too few possible acts of Christian witness or mercy available to maintain its interest? Or is the Witherspoon Society in truth just a Democratic Party action group at heart, with only the vestiges remaining of being a genuine Christian ministry whose work transcends the platform of any particular political party?