The Internal Revenue Service has revoked Operation Rescue West’s tax-exempt status after Catholics for a Free Choice submitted a complaint to the IRS, accusing the anti-abortion group of violating electoral regulations for nonprofits. While the IRS has not yet released any information regarding the reasons for which it revoked Operation Rescue West’s (ORW) status, the complaint filed by Catholics for a Free Choice (CCFC) provided information on ORW’s activities during the 2004 election. CCFC alleged that Operation Rescue West (ORW), at that time a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, violated its IRS status by joining in electoral activities. Federal law prohibits 501(c)(3) charities and churches from campaigning for and promoting candidates.
In a press release, CCFC President Frances Kissling said, “We applaud the IRS for its vigilance in monitoring election activities by 501(c)(3) organizations and hope the revocation of Operation Rescue West’s tax-exempt status will send a clear message to tax-exempt groups that think they are above the law that such activities will be monitored, reported to the IRS, and acted upon.” Kissling also added that CCFC will continue to be vigilant of other nonprofit organizations’ activities during the election season in 2006.
CCFC is concerned that this kind of violation of electoral regulations by anti-abortion groups is more widespread. CFFC has also filed complaints against Catholic Answers and Priests for Life, two other anti-choice groups.