Christians Engaged: Getting Religion, Politics, and Public Charity Status Right

Earlier this summer, the IRS issued a now-well-publicized rejection letter against Christians Engaged (CE) for being too political to qualify for Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. But, as explained in its IRS Form 1023 application, Christians Engaged operates for religious purposes, encourages people to pray for our country’s leaders, educates on moral issues with public policy, and carries out other activities with political overlays. An uproar ensued in opposition to this denial among tax practitioners, religious organizations, and politicians – with the welcome result that the IRS reversed course and summarily recognized the organization’s tax-exempt status. Was the IRS initially right or wrong? What could Christians Engaged have done better? And what can other Section 501(c)(3) organizations learn from the IRS’s bizarre handling?

Schedule B Donor Disclosures: Supreme Court Sides with Charities

On July 1, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta (AFPF v. Bonta) that the California Attorney General may no longer collect Schedule B donor information from charities registered to solicit in the state. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that “California’s blanket demand that all charities disclose Schedule Bs to the Attorney General is facially unconstitutional.” Writing the majority opinion for the Court, Chief Justice Roberts reasoned that California’s disclosure requirement violated donors’ freedom of association under the First Amendment and was not narrowly tailored to the important government interest of investigating charitable misconduct. This case represents a resounding victory to charities, and it will undoubtedly shape donor disclosure laws in other states, particularly within the context of charitable solicitation registration.

Employment and COVID-19 Shots: Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

May employers legally require COVID-19 shots for all employees? According to updated guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the answer is yes: employers may legally require all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19. On the other hand, the Biden administration just directed federal agencies to neither mandate shots nor require related disclosures from federal employees. And, as the New York Times recently reported, some states are pushing back on vaccination mandates.