Q: What are a few problems with the ban on political activity by charities?


  • Selective enforcement of the law with a few charities losing exempt status while hundreds of others intentionally flout the law with no enforcement.
  • Vague meaning of what is allowed or not
  • That vague meaning chills free speech for everyone.
  • Probably unconstitutional (I watch constitutional debates on the field from the nosebleed section of the stadium, but looks to me like the political ban is way out-of-bounds).
  • Adopted into law in 1954 as payback against an NPO that dared criticize a Senator from Texas.
  • Contrary to very long tradition of political expression in some faith communities.
  • Undermining respect for the law when strong enforcement effort is applied to a few select charities.

Those are a few reasons the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations believes the ban on political advocacy by charities should be substantially relaxed.


Commission on Accountability and Policy releases their first report

It is available on their website here.

I just downloaded the report now, so haven’t had a chance to look at any of it.

Suzanne Perry provides a first look at the document in her article Religious Leaders Tell Congress No New Laws Are Needed to Curb Abuse at Chronicle of Philanthropy.


Panel members announced for Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations

The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations has announced the members of three panels that will advise the commission.

See my previous comments on the Commission for background here, here, and here.

The Commission’s website can be found here.

A short description of the Commission from their website: (more…)

Update on the ECFA Commission –announcement of membership and overall approach

ECFA has announced the membership of the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations. This is the task force ECFA has assembled to provide feedback requested by U.S. Sen. Grassley.

Click here for my previous comments on the commission, which provides general background.


Some thoughts from the webinar on ECFA’s Commission

Previous posts here and here for background.

There are a few comments worth repeating from the the ECFA’s webinar on the formation of their Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations.  The Commission will provide input to the Senate Finance Committee. A few of my thoughts as well.


What issues will the ECFA Commission address?

Sen. Charles Grassley has asked ECFA to lead an independent, private sector commission to provide input on some of the major accountability and policy issues affecting the religious nonprofit community, particularly churches. Previous post here.  ECFA’s press release here.

Dan Williams, of PSK, an accounting firm in Arlington, Texas, has some comments at Faith-Based Accounting.

In a webinar on January 14, Michael Batts, CPA and Dan Busby, CPA and President of ECFA, gave background on the Commission and what it will be addressing.

Here are a few of the issues on the commission’s plate: