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Kamala Harris Accused of Violating IRS Rule After VP Appears in Campaign Video Aired in Churches

© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stands by during an event to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2021
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stands by during an event to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
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The video has been denounced by the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy group representing the interests of atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers, which slammed the advertisement as an “inappropriate mixing of government, politics, and religion”.
Over 300 Black churches in Virginia have begun airing a political ad featuring Vice President Kamala Harris, a move that critics say violates the Johnson amendment to the Internal Revenue Service tax code.
In the video obtained by CNN, the US second-in-command urges voters to vote for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the upcoming gubernatorial election, scheduled for 2 November.

“I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment. Terry McAuliffe has a long track record of getting things done for the people of Virginia”, Harris says

The amendment, proposed by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson (the 36th president of the US) was approved by Congress in 1954. It prohibits organisations, including “charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity”. However, it is unclear whether the Democratic Party and vice president breached it. The Internal Revenue Service has not yet commented on the issue.

The political ad quickly went viral and sparked a wave of negative comments, with users arguing that it is illegal.

Even supporters of the vice president were concerned, while some netizens said that it was disrespectful to believers to play a campaign ad in churches.

Many stressed the importance of the separation of church and state in the US.

Others said that churches airing the video will lose their tax exempt status.

Still others voiced doubt that government departments will investigate the issue if it turns out that the ad did violate the law.
The second-in-command is not the only Democrat who has come under criticism for being involved in the gubernatorial election in Virginia. On 15 October, government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, claiming she had violated the Hatch Act by praising Governor Terry McAuliffe during her press briefing.

The 1939 law prohibits civil service employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president and vice president, from engaging in some forms of political activity.
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