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The Nation; Conservatives Also Irked by IRS Probe of Churches; The agency's warning to All Saints is part of a wider look into political activity by nonprofits.
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Investigations; Political activism; Freedom of speech; Religious organizations; Tax exemptions
Author: Jason Felch and Patricia Ward Biederman
Date: Nov 8, 2005
Start Page: A.1
Section: Main News; Part A; Metro Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

[Ted Haggard] said he personally supports the war in Iraq and probably would not agree with much in the Rev. George Regas' 2004 sermon at All Saints, which was cited by the IRS as the basis for its investigation. But Haggard said he wants to work with the council of churches "in doing whatever it takes to get the IRS to stop" such actions.

"It is a violation of the Constitution for the IRS to threaten that church. It may not be a violation of IRS regulations, but IRS regulations have been wrong," said Haggard, who is pastor of the 12,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Marcus Owens, the former head of tax-exempt organizations at the IRS and now a private attorney representing All Saints, said that the more recent IRS policy changes lowered the threshold for church audits, allowing front-line IRS agents to pursue probes with only cursory approval from above.

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