by Steven Ertelt
November 29, 2005
Colorado Springs, CO (LifeNews.com) — A pro-abortion campaign watchdog group says the pro-life organization Focus on the Family is violating its nonprofit tax status by allowing Dr. James Dobson, its founder and president, to advocate the election of political candidates.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the IRS asking it to investigate and consider revoking FOF’s nonprofit tax status. The complaint focuses on Dobson’s endorsing candidates and political work it says the group did on behalf of pro-life Rep. Patrick Toomey’s unsuccessful Senate bid in Pennsylvania.
Dobson has said many times before that he only makes endorsements as an individual and not in his capacity as the head of Focus no the Family. But CREW accuses Dobson of using the organization’s resources to advance those endorsements.
Jim Bopp, a pro-life attorney who is a national expert on campaign finance laws, is representing Focus on the Family. He told Capitol Hill Blue, a Washington political newsletter, that FOF and Dobson have done nothing wrong.
Bopp told CHB that Dobson has always acted within IRS guidelines in his political endorsements by separating them from the work of FOF.
He dismissed CREW’s complaint as "just a lame effort by this organization to get publicity."
In a move to stay within the law, Focus on the Family recently created Focus on the Family Action, a separate organization set up under different IRS rules that govern political groups, in order to engage in public policy activities.
"Dr. Dobson has not used assets of Focus on the Family in any way" for political activities, Bopp said.
"Anyone can send a letter to the IRS," he told Capitol Hill Blue. "Anyone can send out a press release about the letter. And that means nothing to the IRS."