The IRS says the group’s leadership team also raises red flags. Bunni Pounds, founder and president of Christians Engaged, lost a political race as a Republican in 2018. Vice president Trayce Bradford is a former leader of the Texas Eagle Forum, which boasts of its “unashamedly pro-life” and “strong conservative” values. And advisory board member Michael Cloud is a current Republican member of Congress.
Christians Engaged Calls IRS Conclusions Incorrect
First Liberty Institute, which is representing Christians Engaged in its appeal, says the IRS is incorrect on three points: inventing “a nonexistent requirement that exempt organizations be neutral on public policy issues,” concluding that the group “serves private, nonexempt purposes,” and violating the group’s First Amendment rights.
On its website, First Liberty asks, “Has Cancel Culture come to the IRS?” It also calls this case “eerily reminiscent of a scandal that made headlines during President Obama’s administration when the IRS, under the leadership of Lois Lerner, was accused of targeting Tea Party groups.”
Lea Patterson of First Liberty says, “The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican. That might be news to President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs.”
Patterson adds, “Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax-exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”
Pounds, president of Christians Engaged, says, “We just want to encourage more people to vote and participate in the political process. How can anyone be against that?”