Ohio IRS Letter

Commissioner Mark W. Everson
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Ave NW
Washington DC 20224

Dear Mr. Everson:

On behalf of a member of the public in Ohio, our national association working to keep state and church separate is notifying you of a serious infraction of the IRS codes by a tax-exempt church.

Enclosed is a photograph taken at The Encampment, a church at 2129 West Bend Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, pastored by Charlie Winburn (who himself has been a candidate for public office).

A Ohio member of our organization spotted two campaign signs endorsing Blackwell on church property yesterday, close to 5 p.m. He phoned the local Democratic Party office to inform them of this election infraction. He phoned me this morning and I asked him to take photographs. When he went back to the church, the largest sign, which had been planted near the church marquee, had been taken down, but the remaining "Blackwell" yard sign was still there (as you can see from the enclosed photograph he emailed me).

Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, as you know is running for governor. A large group of liberal clergymen have twice notified your office of the irregularities going on in Ohio regarding "patriot pastors" and a "restoration movement," a movement of evangelical/fundamentalist clergy and congregations openly and illegally promoting Blackwell's candidacy.

To my knowledge, the clergy complainants are awaiting the IRS response.

The Encampment should be sanctioned for its blatant, illegal endorsement of a candidate for public office. The IRS needs to notify Ohio churches and their political entities immediately (this month, well before the election) that partisan politicking, much less endorsement, by tax-exempt entities will be not tolerated by the IRS.

May we hear from you about this egregious violation of the IRS codes at your earliest convenience? The nation is watching what happens in Ohio. Will the IRS look the other way, or will it enforce its prohibition of partisan politicking by tax-exempt entities?

Yours very truly,

Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-President

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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