by Steven Ertelt
March 29, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-abortion group, Catholics for Free Choice, is attacking Priests for Life, a top pro-life organization, and claiming that it is violating its status as a nonprofit entity by posting videos of pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback on its web site.
Brownback is a Republican presidential candidate and has been endorsed personally by PFL director Father Frank Pavone but not by the organization as a whole.
The pro-abortion group, seen as heretical by faithful Catholics, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Priests for Life over the videos. It alleges that the videos’ appearance on the PFL web site constitutes an illegal campaign endorsement.
The videos feature a montage of the 2007 March for Life in Washington and of Brownback making remarks both there and at another pro-life event that day.
"The two videos clearly demonstrate PFL’s support for Brownback’s candidacy," CFFC said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.
“The production, editing, and online hosting of these videos appears to represent a significant-and illegal-outlay of charitable funds," the group said in its letter to the IRS.
Pavone calls the latest CFFC complaint, the third time the pro-abortion group has attacked Priests for Life, "silly" and says it’s meant to intimidate his group.
Pavone said the video "is not an endorsement from Priests for Life" for Brownback but is meant to encourage pro-life advocates to look into the pro-life candidates seeking the presidency.
"We want people to understand you have to elect people who are going to protect life," Pavone told the Amarillo, Texas newspaper.
"As an organization, we have never been a partisan organization," Pavone explained. "We don’t ally ourselves with any particular party. This falls into the category of issue advocacy, and the IRS makes a distinction between issue advocacy and candidate advocacy."
Pavone said CFFC officials don’t understand the difference between electioneering and issues advocacy, two distinct activities that fall under two different guidelines.
The complaint against Priests for Life comes just days after the group threatened legal action against Catholics for a Free Choice. In a 15-page letter from its lawyers, Priests for Life outlined various complaints about a recent publication from CFFC, “Faithless Politics: Priests for Life Defies Constitution and Conscience.”
The publication makes various claims about supposedly illegal activities PFL has engaged in — referring to educational efforts by the organization to encourage Catholics to vote pro-life.
Despite the CFFC allegations, Priests for Life has not endorsed any candidates or worked for any candidates in previous elections.