IRS Officially Grants Tax Exempt Status to New Non-Profit Group, Coalition for Life of Iowa
August 5, 2009
CHICAGO, (christiansunite.com) -- Today attorneys from the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm based in Chicago, finally received an official "Determination Letter" from the Internal Revenue Service granting tax exempt status to the Coalition for Life of Iowa, a newly formed grass roots pro-life citizen group based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS had long delayed approval of the Coalition's request for the exemption, pressing it for "details" about the content of its members' prayers at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility and demanding that it refrain from activities at Planned Parenthood that could be construed as protesting or picketing by police or harassing or being confrontational with abortion-bound clients. IRS also demanded that every member of the board of directors of the Coalition sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they will not picket or protest or organize others to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.
Last month the Coalition asked Thomas More Society for help, and the Society retained non-profit law and tax specialist, Sally Wagenmaker, of the Chicago law firm, Mosher & Associates, to assist with the case. Wagenmaker wrote IRS a lengthy recital of legal objections to its inquiries and demands (posted at www.thomasmoresociety.org), threatening legal action if the IRS persisted in violating the Coalition's First Amendment rights. Soon thereafter, the IRS quietly advised the Coalition that it would receive its tax exemption, and now the IRS's official Determination Letter has just arrived, albeit dated as of July 9, 2009.
"This is a great victory for the Coalition for Life of Iowa, and for all non-profit groups," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "The IRS must operate within the constraints of law, and it cannot condition the grant of tax exempt status on the forfeiture or surrender of First Amendment rights on the part of any non-profit group or individual American citizens. We join the Coalition for Life of Iowa in the celebration of its victory and remain prepared to defend advocates for life against government abuse or threats - no matter however, wherever, or whenever they may suffer such abuse or threats."
The IRS Letter of Determination now confirms that the Coalition for Life of Iowa is a legitimate 501 (c)(3) public charity, donations to which are fully tax deductible.
About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center is a public interest law firm in Chicago that counsels and defends those who work to protect innocent human life, defends those who proclaim faith-based values in our nation's public square, and strives to protect the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman formed to beget, bear and nurture new human lives. For more information, please visit: www.thomasmoresociety.org.