St. Barbara’s Catholic Church, in Santa Ana, has been caught promoting the political campaign of Ken Nguyen, a Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commissioner, who is running for the Orange County Board of Education, in Area One, which includes the City of Santa Ana.
Repeated phone calls have been made to the church officials and to the Orange County Catholic Dioscese, but to date the signs are still all over the church’s property. This is illegal and puts the church at risk of losing their tax exempt status, according to the IRS:
The Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Those section 501(c)(3) organizations that are private foundations are subject to additional restrictions that are not described in this fact sheet.
What is Political Campaign Intervention?
Political campaign intervention includes any and all activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention. Distributing statements prepared by others that favor or oppose any candidate for public office will also violate the prohibition. Allowing a candidate to use an organization’s assets or facilities will also violate the prohibition if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity. Although section 501(c)(3) organizations may engage in some activities to promote voter registration, encourage voter participation, and provide voter education, they will violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention if they engage in an activity that favors or opposes any candidate for public office. Certain activities will require an evaluation of all the facts and circumstances to determine whether they result in political campaign intervention.
If you would like to contact the officials at St. Barbara’s Church and ask them why they are apparently willing to break the law and to place their tax exempt status in jeopardy, here are their email addresses:
St. Barbara’s is located at 730 S. Euclid St., in Santa Ana. A former pastor of this church, Father Richard Delahunty, was investigated for ten months after allegations of molesting a boy were made, but he was eventually cleared in 2004, according to the L.A. Times.
Shame on Ken Nguyen for putting his church at risk! This is not the first time he has allegedly skirted the law, as you will find by reading this article.