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Illegal political activity by charities rose in 2004 election: IRS

[JURIST] In a speech Friday [official transcript] in Cleveland, US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) [official website] Commissioner Mark Everson [official profile] said that the IRS had found a sharp increase in prohibited political activity by 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charities, including some churches, during the 2004 election cycle. According to an IRS study [official press release; report text], three quarters of 82 charitable organizations examined engaged in some prohibited activity such as contributing to campaigns and encouraging voters to vote for particular candidates. Most instances of improper action involved one-time occurrences that the IRS addressed with written notices to the organizations. In three cases, however, the charities' illegal activity was so egregious that the IRS threatened to revoke the charities' tax-exempt status.

Everson said he wanted to reverse the increase of improper political activity in upcoming mid-term elections this year. The New York Times has more.

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