This is from an article in today’s New York Times:
Last week, an effort by the campaign to enlist members of “friendly congregations” in distributing campaign information at their places of worship came to light in the form of a message e-mailed to some members of the clergy and other people in Pennsylvania, and legal experts warned that any implicit endorsement of one candidate over another could jeopardize a religious group’s tax-exempt status.
“It looks suspicious,” Daniel Maffei, communications director for the Democratic minority on the committee, said of Mr. Thomas’s proposal.
Nonetheless, House Republicans have introduced a provision called “Safe Harbor for Churches” that would allow religious organizations to endorse candidates without risking their tax exempt status. This provision is attached to a bill on corporate taxes that is on a fast track for consideration.
Although previous attempts to loosen the restriction on political endorsements have failed, sponsors think that this provision will pass the house but will face a test during the House/Senate reconciliation process.
The Safe Harbor for Churches provision is less sweeping than previous proposals to change the rules. It would greatly reduce the tax penalties for either one or two deliberate political endorsements in a calendar year and would also allow a church to make as many as three “unintentional” political endorsements in a calendar year without penalty. It does not define “unintentional.’‘
“Our impression is this means you get three sins with no penance,” said Mr. Maffei, of the Ways and Means minority staff. “That means you can take the last three Sundays before the election and pass out a voter card and still retain your tax status as a church.”
The cock is allowed to crow three times.