Ex-Democratic Virginia Governor Bashes Kamala Harris Over Video in Support of Terry McAuliffe
14:59 GMT 25.10.2021 (Updated: 19:40 GMT 19.10.2022)
Last week, over 300 Black churches in Virginia agreed to air a political ad featuring Vice President Kamala Harris urging churchgoers to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, something that critics say violates the Johnson Amendment to the Internal Revenue Service tax code.
Former Democratic Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder has denounced the campaign of Terry McAuliffe for launching a video of Vice President Kamala Harris calling on churchgoers to vote for the 64-year-old Democrat in the upcoming gubernatorial election.
“Well, it’s very good for her to do that, causing these churches to lose their tax-exempt status. If this is legal, then it’s surprising to me”, Wilder, America’s first Black governor, added in remarks to the Washington Examiner.
He apparently referred to the Johnson Amendment to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code, which was approved by Congress in 1954.
Under the amendment, organisations – including charities and churches – that are exempt from taxes under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office […]”.
As for Wilder’s remarks, they followed Harris underscoring in the video that she believes that her “friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment”.
The vice president went on by claiming that Virginians “deserve a leader who has a vision of what is possible, and the experience to realise that vision”.
22 October 2021, 18:36 GMT
Harris also lauded McAuliffe’s “long track record of getting things done for the people of Virginia”. The VP praised him for bringing “200,000 jobs to Virginia”, when he was previously Virginia’s governor between 2014 and 2018, arguing that “incomes went up and unemployment went down in every city and county in the state” while McAuliffe was in office.
“Early voting has already started, and this is the first year that you can vote on Sunday, so please vote after today's service, and if you cannot vote today, make a plan to go vote”, Harris added, in a nod to the 2 November election.
This came as Fox News cited an unnamed election lawyer as saying that if Harris “actually is specifically endorsing a candidate, and churches are showing this […], that seems like it would be a pretty clear violation of the Johnson Amendment”.