Suit Challenging IRS Non-Enforcement of Politicking Ban Against Churches Survives Dismissal Motion

Religion Clause
Aug 22, 2013
Howard Friedman

In Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Shulman (PDF), (WD WI, Aug. 19, 2013), a Wisconsin federal district court refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service alleging that IRS enforcement policies favors religious non-profits over other 501(c)(3) organizations. The suit alleges that the IRS does not enforce the ban on political campaign activity against churches and religious organizations, while it fully enforces it against others. The court held that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, itself a 501(c)(3) organization, has standing to bring the action, and that the government has waived sovereign immunity through Section 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act. As pointed out in the FFRF’s press release on the decision, this means that the case will now proceed to discovery. Huffington Post reports on the decision. [Thanks to Michael Gompertz for the lead.]

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