The Ballot, the Bimah, and the Tax Code

CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Forthcoming

Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2009-47

18 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2009  

Ellen P. Aprill

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Date Written: December 8, 2009

Abstract

Under the Internal Revenue Code, synagogues, like other organizations exempt under section 501(c)(3), are prohibited from political campaign intervention, may engage in some lobbying, and are free to take positions on issues of public policy without limit. This essay will explain how the IRS distinguishes these categories. It will include a discussion of direct and indirect endorsement of political candidates. It will also explain when rabbinic speech is deemed that of the individual and when it is attributed to the synagogue. The goal of the piece is to help rabbis understand this area of the law so that they may navigate within its strictures, such as they are. To that end, it will also offer some practical guidelines for commonly encountered situations.

Suggested Citation

Aprill, Ellen P., The Ballot, the Bimah, and the Tax Code (December 8, 2009). CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Forthcoming; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2009-47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1520753

Ellen P. Aprill (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-1157 (Phone)
213-380-3769 (Fax)

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