Jewish Political Action Group asks IRS to revoke National Cathedral’s tax exempt status for engaging in political activity


Late last month the National Cathedral of Washington, D.C. issued a press release, still posted on its website which attacked the President of the United States.

The Cathedral urged all Americans to act against President Trump, saying explicitly that “After two years of President Trump’s words and actions, when will Americans have enough?”

 In issuing this statement, the Cathedral has crossed the line that bars tax-exempt entities from engaging in partisan political activity. In response, Jews Choose Trump has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service. We requested that the IRS investigate the Cathedral’s outrageous action, and either withdraw the Cathedral’s tax-protected status or impose some other appropriate remedy.

The National Cathedral, like most houses of worship, is a tax-exempt, non-profit institution which, in order to maintain its tax-exempt status, is required to adhere to the rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3).

The hallmark of that IRS regulation prohibits representatives of such institutions, acting on behalf of their institutions, from engaging in political activity:  activity that would be permitted if it is politically neutral is barred if it “shows a bias or preference in content or structure.”  The Cathedral has broken this rule emphatically and clearlyRev.Rul. 2007-25 I.R.B.

In a press release entitled: “Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump,” the three faith leaders of the Cathedral scolded Americans for being complicit in what they described as the “dangerous”,” xenophobic”, “bigoted”, “racist”, “violence” of President Trump. The only way to cleanse themselves of that taint, the Washington Cathedral insists, is to act against the President.

The only action Americans can lawfully take against a President whom they believe to be as “dangerous,” as the Cathedral insists President Trump is, is either to vote against him or to impeach him. At the very least, the entire July 30 public statement on the website of the National Cathedral constitutes a “message” that is clearly “opposing a candidate.” In other words, the Cathedral is intervening in a political campaign, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

The partisan nature of the Cathedral’s statement is particularly clear because it is biased, and in crucial respects completely false. The Cathedral falsely accuses President Trump of condemn[ing] the residents of an entire American city.” Far from doing any such thing, President Trump instead truthfully described the appalling conditions which Baltimore’s political leaders have – for decades – permitted its residents to endure.

In 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders likened Congressman Cumming’s district to “a third world country.” President Trump’s description of those conditions used the same words and message as Democrats – including the former Mayor of Baltimore: they were only deemed “racist” by the Cathedral, now, because they were uttered by President Trump.

Making clear that its statements are designed to influence voters, the Cathedral did not call on President Trump to repent or to correct those of his statements which the Cathedral condemns. Instead, the demand for action is directed only towards other Americans whom they seek to shame if they don’t heed the Cathedral’s warning:  “When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough?”

The church leaders of the National Cathedral are entitled to believe and say exactly whatever they wish. What they cannot do, consistent with the Cathedral’s tax-exempt status, is to act in this way on behalf of the Cathedral – or to use the Cathedral’s tax-exempt resources to promote their own political views.

Therefore, JewsChooseTrump.Org has filed a Form 13909 Referral with the Internal Revenue Service seeking a determination that the National Cathedral has violated the regulations it is required to adhere to it order to maintain its tax-exempt status with its highly partisan political intervention in the current presidential political campaign.