by WorldTribune Staff, October 21, 2021
In a video sent to 300 black churches in Virginia, Kamala Harris calls on congregants to vote for Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat candidate for governor in Virginia.
In the video, Harris reminds the faithful that they can vote on Sundays and urges them to do so following their church service.
The Hatch Act says that federal government employees are prohibited from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”
Analysts say Harris violated the Hatch Act with the video endorsement of McAuliffe.
“I’m sure ‘getting out the vote’ for Mr. McAuliffe qualifies” as a violation, columnist Cal Thomas wrote for The Washington Times on Oct. 20.
Thomas reminded readers that Harris indeed is a federal employee even though she “appears to be in the witness protection program when it comes to her assigned role of restoring our southern border.”
The Harris video is part of McAuliffe’s campaign push called “Souls to the Polls.” Harris declares in the video: “I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted in an Oct. 18 op-ed: “The problem is the ‘Johnson Amendment’ makes such political pitches in churches a violation of federal law. Making matters worse, this knowing violation occurred just days after the filing of a complaint against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for clearly violating the Hatch Act in using the White House press room to support McAuliffe.”
Turley added: “Such direct politicking in tax-exempt churches has been unlawful for decades.”
Section 501(c)3 states:
Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
That bolded language is the “Johnson Amendment” prohibition and expressly includes “the publishing or distributing of statements.”
In the video, Harris recalls her attending church in Oakland, California, saying “it was our sacred responsibility to raise our voice and to lift up the voices of our community.”
Thomas noted: “Translation: vote for Democrats, though their track record is less than admirable when it comes to serving black and brown communities.”
When a leftist such as Harris “talks God,” Thomas continued, “there is no criticism from the advocates of church-state separation because the Left, which now dominates that party, knows they aren’t serious. You can call yourself anything you want so long as you ignore the instructions, admonitions, and salvation message of Scripture.”
That’s why alleged Roman Catholics like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi “seem to get away with proclaiming themselves ‘faithful Catholics’ yet ignore — even oppose — their church’s teaching on abortion, marriage, and homosexuality. As long as you are for the same policies advocated by secular progressives you can be ‘religious,’ and the Left doesn’t care,” Thomas noted.
“Democrats who have told conservative Christians they should not try to impose their beliefs through government obviously have no problem imposing misinterpretations of Scripture and even non-beliefs through government and judicial fiat. Some are even inconsistent in those beliefs, accepting their church’s teaching when it opposes the death penalty for murderers, but rejecting teachings that seek to protect unborn human life,” Thomas added.
In an Oct. 16 tweet, CNN national politics reporter Eva McKend said that Harris’s video would “air during morning services.”
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
Turley wrote: “If this is indeed played in churches (as opposed to simply posted on Internet sites), it does appear a premeditated and unambiguous violation of the federal law governing churches as non-for-profit institutions.”
So, will Harris be held accountable for violating the Hatch Act? “Of course not,” Thomas wrote. “Washington always protects its own, unless the person is a Republican or Donald Trump.”