Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
In direct relation to busting dominionists' tax exempt statuses...

In light of first the DefCon America call for people to report dominionist groups violating tax exempt status and a later report of at least the second serious threat against Focus on the Family's tax exempt status, I would like to present both a bit of useful info and history and a very long list of groups that you, too, can file complaint in regards to.
Focus on the Family has itself been one of two particular dominionist groups in trouble with the IRS in past. The first time that the IRS gave FotF the hairy eyeball was in 1992, when the IRS started looking very hard at the Family Research Council (which, at the time, was part of Focus on the Family). The threat of having FotF's tax-exempt status yanked lead to the FRC splitting from Focus on the Family in order to save the latter's tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 organisation. (More on those tax codes in a bit--I know that especially for our non-American readers this will bear explanation.)

Family Research Council started out as 501(c)4, but is now 501(c)3 along with FotF and most other dominionist groups.

The Christian Coalition originally organised as a 501(c)3, if memory serves, but then after IRS investigations in 1998 and onward (which resulted in the loss of its tax exempt status and ruling it had to pay back taxes it attempted to reorganise as a 501(c)4 and only this year has successfully regained 501(c)4 status (under the terms of a federal consent order that provides very strict standards for their voter guides--if they are at all sectarian they are very likely to lose the tax exemption again).

The Interfaith Alliance has sent out yearly warnings regarding the Christian Coalition voter's guides in particular due to the real risk of churches losing tax exempt status for distributing them.

A brief note on the whole 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 stuff...the US tax code allows specific exemptions to federal taxes for certain classes of nonprofit organisations. To make a very long story short, the three main types of nonprofit groups legally recognised under the US tax codes are 501(c)3 groups, 501(c)4 groups, and PACs (political action committees). Both 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups can be set up as nonprofit groups; 501(c)3 exemptions tend to be used by churches, schools and educational groups whilst 501(c)4 groups tend to be used by actual lobbying groups. (Of note to Dark Christianity, dominionist groups typically register as 501(c)3 groups, and typically under the "religious ministry" or "educational foundation" exemptions (with the exception of groups like the DeVos Foundations, which are organised as private charitable foundations). The very few dominionist groups registered as 501(c)4 groups are uniformly registered as "social welfare organisations".)

The main difference in practice between a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 in practice:

501(c)3 group donations *can* be counted off on taxes as "tax deductible donations" but 501(c)3 groups generally are
not legally allowed to engage in most political activity. (Certainly not advocating certain persons or certain parties for election, even certain issues can be iffy if it's a party-defining issue)

501(c)4 groups have more leeway as far as lobbying in Congress and state governments but donations to these groups are *not* tax deductible.

The specific IRS rules for lobbying for 501(c)3 groups are here and the rules for 501(c)4 "social welfare" groups are here.

Of special note (and of major import for dominionist groups)--groups that lose their 501(c)3 status as a result of lobbying *cannot* apply for 501(c)4 status; they lose their tax exempt status period. (Christian Coalition had changed their status to 501(c)4 just before the IRS yanked their tax exempt status, and it was only after almost seven years before it was restored; even now, they're essentially on "double secret probation" with the IRS.) Also, 501(c)4 groups can't have political lobbying as their *primary* activity (which is much of what got the Christian Coalition in trouble, and what may even get the few dominionist 501(c)4 groups in hot water).

Instead of the 1040C or other business-related tax forms that are normally filled out, organisations that qualify as 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups fill out a different form, called a form 990 or form 990-PF (the latter mostly applies to 501(c)4 groups); churches are largely exempt from having to register or file a form 990 (it's "assumed" they're tax exempt unless they show misbehaviour like, oh, distributing blatantly partisan dominionist voter's guides in sermon).

This is important in relevance to the next section:
I've forwarded this list to DefCon America, but additions to it, suggestions for additions, etc. are always welcome. This is so other folks can do their own research (and because, frankly, I want these groups shot down like a crooked-winged goose with the Hong Kong duck flu).

This site is a good research site for 990 forms for nonprofits and is affiliated with a general site researching funding groups in general.

Anyways, here's the naughty spawn I've found so far and their 990 forms.  Nearly all are 501(c)3 nonprofits, meaning they are largely Very Naughty Spawn and Very Vulnerable.  I encourage frequent reporting to DefCon America, in part because they DO have the legal resources to put severe hurt on the dominionists in this regard.

AFA's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
FotF's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
CWFA's  2004 filing as a 501(c)3, hence their concern
American Vision's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Alliance Defense Fund's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Coral Ridge Ministries' 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 of the DeVos Foundations's 2003 filings (four separate foundations exist legally, all four registered as 501(c)3)
Family Research Council's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3 (apparently they have changed from 501(c)4 to 501(c)3, maybe not as safe as we thought!)
Family Research Institute's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Traditional Values Coalition's 2004 filing as a 501(c)4 (one of the few dominionist groups legally allowed to politick)
Eagle Forum's 2004 filing as a 501(c)4 (this part of it is safe, but NOT where the bulk of its assets are)
Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3 (this is where the bulk of Eagle Forum's legal assets actually lie)
Promise Keepers' 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Promise Keepers Charitable Foundation's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Exodus International's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Love In Action's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
NARTH's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
American Life League's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Constitution Party's rather...bizarre 2004 filing (in which they send in a 990 but state they don't need to because they're a political party)
Natinoal Right to Life Committee's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
(interestingly, some state Right to Life Committees seem to be organised as 501(c)4 groups; see Kentucky Right to Life, for example)
Priests for Life's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Vision America's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3 (Vision America is the group behind the Texas and Ohio Restoration Movements, and is attempting to set up similar groups nationwide)
CBN's  2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Florida and Texas branches of Trinity Broadcasting's filings for 2003 (Trinity Broadcasting has set itself up in approximately ten separate front companies, if not more; it is a major player in religiobroadcasting including news aimed at the dominionist "parallel media" and is also an increasingly major player in low power TV license hijacking)
Liberty University's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Patrick Henry College's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Acton Institute's 2004 filing as a 501(c)3
Chalcedon's 2005 filing as a 501(c)3
Discovery Institute's 2005 filing as a 501(c)3
Institute for Creation Research's 2004 filing as 501(c)3
Institute on Religion and Democracy's 2003 filing as 501(c)3
Ave Maria College's 2003 filing as 501(c)3
Regent University's 2003 filing as 501(c)3
University of Bridgeport's 2003 filing as 501(c)3
ACLJ's 2002 filing as 501(c)3
Americans United for Life's 2004 filing as 501(c)3
Foundation for Moral Law's 2003 filing as 501(c)3 (group associated with Roy Moore)
Liberty Counsel's 2002 filing as 501(c)3
Rutherford Institute's 2003 filing for 501(c)3

I know there are probably dominionist groups I've not listed there--if you've additions, let me know and I can add their tax info (and you can have fun reporting them for their misbehaviour!).