The IRS has guidelines that tax-exempt organizations must follow regarding electoral politics. While those who work in the non-profit sector may address the issues, they are forbidden from endorsing candidates for public office.
No matter, Vice President Kamala Harris showed her contempt for these norms during the run-up to the November elections. She had videotaped a series of addresses endorsing Virginia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, using 300 black churches as her platform. Thus did she technically put these churches in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status.
The vice president did not mince words. “I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment.” After telling the congregations how to join his campaign, she said, “So please vote, Virginia. And elect Terry McAuliffe as your next governor.” It doesn’t get much more brazen than that.
Law professor Jonathan Turley also did not mince words. “If the White House participated in this plan to have direct politicking, they would have assisted in that violation. Now that puts them in a rather awkward position since their administration has to enforce this very rule.”
If Vice President Mike Pence had released videos to evangelical churches in the South last year urging voters to reelect Donald Trump, the Democrats would have gone crazy, no doubt launching another investigation, and the media would have been cheering them on from the get-go.
Though no one will say it, what Harris did was racist. Her choice of running the ads in black churches was exploitative—she knew she could get away with it—yet she cared not a whit if this triggered an IRS probe. She wasn’t going to get into trouble, and that is all that mattered to her.