IRS ends probe of UCC on Obama talk, clears pastor on Huckabee endorsement

No tax exemptions lost
In letters sent on successive days, the Internal Revenue Service said it concluded that neither the United Church of Christ, whose national convention heard Barack Obama speak, nor a Southern Baptist pastor, who publicly backed Mike Huckabee, violated tax-exemption provisions prohibiting political endorsements by churches.

The IRS found that UCC officials had taken several steps to ensure that the purpose of having the Illinois senator speak in June 2007 at the denomination’s General Synod in Connecticut was for attendees to hear his perspective as a UCC member and that it was not to be construed as a political endorsement.

On the basis of the UCC response to its requests for information, the IRS agreed that the invitation to him to speak came “well before he announced his candidacy” for the Democratic nomination for president.


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