Americans United for the Separation of Church and State issued a letter to the IRS today claiming that Liberty University violated federal laws in hosting Ted Cruz to announce his candidacy for President of the United States.
The letter which is addressed to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen states,
Liberty University is a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, it is prohibited from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Yet it is difficult to view Liberty’s choice to allow Sen. Cruz to hold a campaign rally on campus as anything less than an endorsement of his candidacy, notwithstanding the university president’s perfunctory disclaimer to the contrary.
Indeed, it appears that Sen. Cruz chose Liberty because it offered him certain advantages, and Liberty was more than happy to work in coordination with the senator to assist his cause. Sen. Cruz wanted potential donors and conservative voters to believe that he has the support of thousands of young people at the largest Christian university in the world. And Liberty helped sell that idea by making attendance at the senator’s rally mandatory for students. (In fact, anyone who failed to show up without an approved excuse faced a fine of $10.)
Sadly the IRS will fail to act in this case as they are still bared from auditing and investigating non-profits because of the moratorium placed on the office by congressional republicans over the faux IRS scandal they created last year.
However action of some form must be taken as religious organizations abuse their tax-exempt status to push a political agenda.