It was already assumed by many that Vice President Kamala Harris will do whatever it takes — including violating the law — to get more Democrats elected to office, but now it appears as if there’s actual proof that she did just that.
Harris appears in a video endorsing Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, and in it, encourages viewers to vote for him. The video will be seen at 300 Black churches on Sundays until election day on Nov. 2., which many believe is a clear violation of the Johnson Amendment prohibiting churches from endorsing specific political candidates.
The video’s existence was announced on Twitter after being discovered by CNN, of all outlets.
NEW — More than 300 Black churches across VA will hear from @KamalaHarris btwn Sun. and November 2 in video message that will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe.#VAGOV
— Eva McKend (@evamckend) October 16, 2021
A clear violation
The IRS website makes it clear that such endorsements are not allowed:
“Under terms of the 1954 legislation (named for its principal sponsor, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson), churches and other nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation ‘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 most a church is allowed to do is tell its congregation to vote without saying anything from the pulpit or making any announcement about who their members should cast a vote for.
Harris’ video reportedly goes far beyond the limits of the Johnson Amendment standard.
“Souls to the polls”
The technique Harris and the Democratic operatives behind the video are using is termed “Souls to the Polls,” and it’s not the first time it has been done, just one of the more egregious versions.
Church leadership podcaster and author Ed Stetzer summed it up in a tweet regarding the controversy, saying it was a “bad idea” no matter which party did it. “When you mix politics and religion, you get politics,” he said.
This is a bad idea, @VP.
It was bad when the Republicans did it, and it is bad when the Democrats do it.
When you mix politics and religion, you get politics. https://t.co/VaGt4M4wrC
— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) October 17, 2021
The likelihood that Harris will be prosecuted or even scolded for her actions is virtually non-existent, however, as Democrats seem to be afforded a higher level of immunity from such violations.