Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I missed this bit from Americans United...

James Dobson of Focus on the Family isn't shy about his increasing involvement in politics. During the 2004 campaign, the Religious Right leader traveled the country, rallying evangelical voters on behalf of favored candidates and issues. He is widely credited with helping to defeat former Sen. Tom Daschle in South Dakota. Since then, Dobson has given several media interviews about his political activities.

Dobson's personal politicking is permitted, but federal tax law does not allow him to use the tax-exempt Focus on the Family (FOF) for partisan purposes. Now a progressive group based in Dobson's own back yard of Colorado Springs says he may have done just that, and it wants the Internal Revenue Service to investigate.

The group, Citizens Project, says FOF's Citizen magazine crossed the line by running a cover story comparing the positions of President George W. Bush and U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry on three social issues - abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex marriage.

The article made it clear that Bush agrees with Focus on all three issues and Kerry does not. It blasted Kerry while praising Bush, making it obvious that the president was the preferred candidate. The bias in the article was clear, and it didn't even pretend to be even-handed.

IRS regulations prohibit non-profit 501(c)(3) groups from comparing candidates in this narrow and biased way. The IRS says non-profits can compare candidates' stands on issues, but they must do so on a broad range of issues and avoid distortions and bias. The Citizen article fell far short of that standard. After consulting with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Citizens Project decided to file the IRS complaint.

I have been calling for this myself for quite a while; it is clear that "Focus on the Family" has an apparent intention to coral well-meaning, but ill-informed people into voting Republican.

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