Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint Nov. 28 with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service against James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.
Although barred from electioneering, Mr. Dobson has endorsed candidates for political office several times. In early April, 2004, Mr. Dobson endorsed Republican Representative Patrick J. Toomey in his race for Senate in Pennsylvania. In addition, it was reported that Mr. Dobson actively campaigned during a rally for Rep. Toomey. Other candidates that Mr. Dobson reportedly endorsed in 2004 include North Carolina Republican candidate Pat Ballentine for Govenor and Oklahoma Republican candidate Tom Coburn for Senate.
“Mr. Dobson’s egregious violations of IRS code demand an investigation into his improper activities that break both the spirit and the letter of IRS law,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today.
Recently, the IRS has actively pursued investigations against several perceived liberal groups. The IRS targeted the NAACP’s chairman Julian Bond for a July 2004 speech in which he criticized the Bush administration’s policies on civil rights and the war in Iraq. Additionally, the IRS has threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California because of an antiwar sermon there during the 2004 presidential election. In his sermon “If Jesus Debated Sen. Kerry and President Bush,” the Rector Emeritus of the church, George Regas, never encouraged parishoners to vote for one candidate over another, but only to vote their deepest values.
Sloan continued, “The IRS has established a track record of scrutinizing organizations, in particular liberal ones, that have purportedly violated electioneering regulations. We hope that the IRS will fully investigate Focus on the Family activities as vigorously as it has targeted those of progressive organizations.”
Soulforce is collecting signatures for a related petition:
“I ____________ support calling upon the IRS to thoroughly investigate Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family for continued violations of their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; specifically that although they are barred from electioneering, Dr. Dobson has endorsed candidates for political office several times. Such abuse of their status as a tax-exempt, faith-based, nonprofit organization can no longer be tolerated.”
Supporters may sign the petition form here.