Niki Sullivan follows up on her blog post revealing Dino Rossi’s illegal funder, this time using her J-school sanctioned grownup voice in the print edition of the TNT: “Did group violate campaign rules at Rossi visit?”
The answer, of course, is yes:
But the prohibition is clear, according to Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that acts as a watchdog of other nonprofit organizations.
“They’re not allowed to be involved in partisan political activity, particularly involved in influencing an election. It sounds as if that’s what’s happening,” Borochoff said.
The nonprofit’s intent has no bearing, he said, adding that if a candidate is speaking, that constitutes political involvement.
Borochoff said the Christian group could be at risk of losing its nonprofit status – and the tax exemption it provides.
I suppose as a Christian organization the CBMC feels more obligated to follow the laws of God than the laws of man, but if so, they might want to reread the Ninth Commandment.
[Dwight] Mason, the local CBMC president who gave the prayer, initially told The News Tribune on Thursday that “no funds were solicited.” He also denied seeing any hints of fundraising.
“If there were envelopes there, they weren’t anything I had anything to do with,” he said.
But that was before Sullivan obtained an audio recording of the event in which Mason can be heard leading the group in prayer:
“Father, we are thankful of your care for us and thankful for this opportunity to hear Dino’s story and pray for him and his campaign…”
After the prayer, Mason told the crowd, “OK, at your table, this is not a fundraiser, although Dino did leave with us a couple envelopes there, and I’m sure he’d appreciate that.”
Oops. That’s not just a blatant violation of IRS rules, it’s what I think the Bible refers to as “bearing false witness.”
I don’t think Rossi faces any potential legal sanctions himself for his part in the illegal fundraiser, but as a candidate for governor it is fair to expect him to adhere to a higher standard in terms of respect for the law. 501(c)3 restrictions are Campaign Finance 101—Rossi and his staff must have known that they were treading on dangerous ground by soliciting funds from a religious organization, thus if he wants to live up to the ideals he professes, it is time for him to confess his sins and seek penance.
Cast out the CBMC moneychangers Dino, and return their ill-gotten donations. That is the only path toward redemption.