Jun 08, 2004
Ok, Just This Once
Remember last week when the GOP stepped in it by asking churches to work for Bush-Cheney (thereby sacrificing their claim to tax exempt status)? Well Ways & Means Chairman Bill Thomas has found a solution:Republicans in the House of Representatives have quietly introduced a measure to make it easier for churches to support political candidates, just days after the Bush campaign came under fire from liberal groups for inviting church members to distribute campaign information at their houses of worship.
Representative Bill Thomas of California, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, added the measure to a much larger bill, introduced in the committee on Friday, that centers on revising certain corporate taxes. The provision, called Safe Harbor for Churches, would allow religious organizations a limited number of violations of the existing rules against political endorsements without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.
“It looks suspicious,” Daniel Maffei, communications director for the Democratic minority on the committee, said of Mr. Thomas’s proposal.
The bill, now proceeding on a fast track, is scheduled to move from committee to presentation on the House floor next week. If passed in time for the election, Mr. Maffei said, it could invite “widespread abuse” by religious leaders using their positions to support favorite candidates.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the timing “simply reeks to high heaven, literally.”
Bills from the future: You can out a CIA agent for revenge, but just once! You can swindle Congress into accepting a sham $534 billion Medicare bill, but you will only get “a limited number of violations.” You can cheat the taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars on contracts in Iraq, but only ten to twelve times, and only if your boss (I mean former boss) is the Vice President.
Bill Thomas, Team DeLay.
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