Christian org responds after Dems demand IRS probe into its tax-exempt status: Trying to 'silence Christians'

Posted 5 days ago

From WWW.FOXNEWS.COM

FIRST ON FOX: The Family Research Council (FRC), a Washington, D. C.,-based Christian non-profit, defended itself Tuesday after Democratic lawmakers called for a federal probe into its tax status.

Forty House Democrats — led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Jared Huffman, D-Calif. — penned a letter Monday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig, expressing their concern regarding FRC's tax status. The lawmakers referenced a ProPublica report from July which showed that FRC successfully changed its tax status to an "association of churches" in 2020.

"This is nothing new for Democrats," FRC Co-Founder and President Tony Perkins told Fox News Digital in an interview. "They want to silence all religious organizations. They really ought to get their facts straight because the facts that are advanced in this letter are inaccurate."

"We're not a church," he continued. "We're what is recognized as an ‘association of churches’ because we work with churches. We've got about somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 active churches that we work with; we have a number of ordained members of our staff. So, we work with churches."

Perkins added that Democrats are trying to use "any lever they can to silence Christians."

In March 2020, FRC requested that the IRS change the group's tax classification from a publicly-supported organization to an associaiton of churches and recognize Perkins as a religious leader, ProPublica reported. The IRS granted the request four months later.

A tax-exempt organization that is classified as a church doesn't have to file IRS Form 990, which lists a series of information items, including total contributions, expenses, staff salaries, board members and large payments to contractors, the Democrats wrote in their letter Monday. In addition, such a classification provides an organization protection from potential IRS investigations.

IRS REJECTS TAX-EXEMPT STATUS FOR CHRISTIAN GROUP OVER TIES TO REPUBLICAN PARTY

"We understand the importance of religious institutions to their congregants and believe that religious freedom is a cherished American value and constitutional right. We also believe that our tax code must be applied fairly and judiciously," the Democrats wrote in the letter. "Tax-exempt organizations should not be exploiting tax laws applicable to churches to avoid public accountability and the IRS’s examination of their activities."

However, Perkins said the group previously wasn't previously required to file 990 forms, but still chose to.

"For us, it's about being able, in Washington, D. C., to be an organization that has a statement of faith, to be able to hire people and to pursue our mission in accordance with our faith and not be imposed upon by regulations from the local government," he told Fox News Digital.

"This has been a process over the years," Perkins said. "We've had to change our status just to avoid the mandates from government, whether it's to provide for abortion in our health care policies or it's to hire people who actually have views contrary to our statement of faith."... (Read more)