Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bopp Boasts Another Win For Dobson

Indiana attorney Jim Bopp, the go-to-guy for the religious right, is boasting about a victory in getting Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family fame cleared by the IRS on allegations he violated the group's not-for-profit status by publicly endorsing candidates for public office. In a press release from his office, Bopp's press release reads:

In 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and other liberal watchdog groups sent complaints to the IRS against Focus on the Family. In the complaints, they alleged that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family had engaged in unlawful political activities that justified revocation of their tax exempt status. In 2006, the IRS began an investigation of Focus on the Family that included all their publications, radio broadcasts, and internet communications, especially those that mentioned public officials and political candidates.

The issue was whether Dr. Dobson had improperly endorsed any candidates for public office and whether Focus on the Family had otherwise engaged in political intervention, activity which is prohibited to organizations income tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3). An IRS closing letter, dated August 30, 2007, states that: “Our examination revealed that Dr. Dobson’s reported remarks did not occur in publications of Focus on the Family, did not occur at functions of Focus on the Family, and did not involve Dr. Dobson suggesting that he was speaking as a representative of Focus on the Family. As such, we are closing our examination without any change to our recognition of Focus on the Family as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).”

James Bopp, Jr., special counsel for Focus on the Family, says: “This is a huge victory for Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. No ministry is more careful than this one in complying with all the complex Federal and state laws regulating non-profit organizations. The fact that the IRS did such a thorough review, and found no violations, is a credit to Dr. Dobson, the Focus on the Family compliance team, and their desire to be a law-abiding organization.”

James Bopp, Jr., is special counsel for Focus on the Family. He and his law firm, Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom, have been responsible for the creation, incorporation, and organization of Focus on the Family Action and for compliance with all Federal and state non-profit regulations for Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action’s lobbying and political activities. He has a national federal and state election law and non-profit compliance practice.

Those of you familiar with Focus on the Family will immediately recognize it as the biggest anti-gay bigoted organization in the country next to Donald Wildmon's American Family Association. It should come as no surprise Bopp would be representing the group. Bopp served as the religious right's leading legal proponent of SJR-7, the proposed constitutional amendment in Indiana to ban gay marriages and other rights for unmarried couples, both straight and gay.

Advance Indiana has pointed out numerous examples over the last couple of years where Eric Miller of Advance America and Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana have stepped over the line and endorsed conservative Republican candidates in Indiana under the banner of their not-for-profit organizations. The decision of the IRS in Dobson's case makes a mockery of the prohibition on political activity by these groups. This is just a continuation in a long line of success Jim Bopp is having in our federal courts and federal agencies, where he has found a receptive ear from conservative Republican appointees who are hell-bent on establishing sectarian rule in this country by an American-like Taliban. This has helped solidify Jim Bopp's position as the most powerful and frightening attorney in America at the same time.

With his ability to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions each election cycle in Indiana alone, Bopp has become the most powerful political force in Indiana politics. As the state party's GOP treasurer and its legal counsel, Bopp firmly entrenched his presence within the Indiana GOP. When a vacancy opened up for a spot on the Republican National Committee, Bopp asked for and received the appointment from Gov. Mitch Daniels. Bopp, on behalf of the religious right, is directing the purse strings for this year's mayoral races in Indiana. His favorites are wingnuts Matt Kelty in Fort Wayne and Juan Manigault in South Bend. You may recall Bopp, in defending the now-indicted Kelty on campaign finance-related charges and perjury, bullied a Republican-controlled election board in Allen Co. into ruling that Kelty's failure to disclose a six-figure lone from one of Bopp's religious right friends was not illegal. Fortunately, a seasoned prosecutor convinced a grand jury otherwise to the relief of election law experts.

Bopp's win this week for Dobson from the IRS should be viewed no differently than his performance in front of the Allen Co. Election Board. The Bush-run IRS is simply protecting the religious right so that it can continue to use its vast empire of well-funded not-for-profits to elect conservative, moralist Republicans to office. People need to wake up to what's happening. And I'm primarily directing that to Republicans. As you pause to remember 9/11, you might want to think about how far some religious zealots are willing to go to impose their religious laws on us. Our founding fathers created a constitutional wall separating church from state for good reason. These folks are determined to tear down that wall, and they're making a lot of headway nationwide under Bopp's legal leadership.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gotta go my own way against you on this one.

Anonymous said...

You're right on regarding Bopp. He is a dangerous theocrat, and he holds considerable sway over the Republican Party and its current Governor. I wish you well in your efforts to expose Mr. Bopp and his radical agenda. But until the Indiana Republican Party apparatus denounces him, I don't see why rational person would choose to associate with a political party that puts a theocratic homophobe like Bopp in a position of such influence.

Anonymous said...

Is this a gay rights blog or is it for the advancement of the state of Indiana? Sorry, but forcing the homosexual agenda down the throats of the average person is not the way to go about it. I'm with the first anon. Religious people have the same right to have political opinions that you do, and using hate speech against them just because they disagree with you is uncalled for.

Advance Indiana said...

Exercising your religious freedom is entirely different than writing your religion into our laws. The principles of this blog are clearly stated in the heading: all people are created equal; no religious test shall be imposed on our public officials and offices of trust; and no special privileges or immunities shall be granted to any class of citizens which are not granted on the same terms to all citizens. Bopp and his religious right fanatics do not accept these core principles. They are what the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln was founded upon. The only hate speech being used is by Bopp and his friends in pursuit of their religious agenda.

Wilson46201 said...

Why do the wingers use such colorful language as "forcing the homosexual agenda down the throats of the average person"??? What sort of activities are they hinting at? The funny thing is that the homophobes use that odd phrase so frequently that gay readers have already gotten over the giggling about that wording...

Anonymous said...

what exactly is a homophobe? If anyone anywhere in the world says they don't care for the "gay agenda" are they automatically a homophobe? I mean how do you know they are afraid of anything? I know a few people that say they are against the "gay agenda" based on their personal religious beliefs. But if they get labeled for having a belief system, how is calling them names for what they believe in any better than what you say your fighting for?

Anonymous said...

To all the posters who don't understand that their "religious beliefs" lead them to oppose homosexuality:

Your Bible, and mine, are not the same. It's that simple. I'm a proud Gay Christian. My God loves me and anyone who loves him. Period. He encourages us to pray for those whose views are narrower. I do.

Forcing a narrow (and improper) view of the Bible into our Constitution is blatantly against what our Forefathers and Mothers wanted. It is certainly your right to focus on certain portions of the Bible that promote your belief. It isn't very open or honest, but it's your right.

It is not right for those narrow interpretations to be forced into our Constitution.

And, the IRS Codes, which allow for 501 (c)3 organizations, are clear. Dobson, Miller, and to be fair, many more, routinely violate this prohibition. Gary's right, of course, but expecting this administration's IRS to crack down is unrealistic. It was never going to happen.

And if you want to know why many of us are outraged at Dobson's tax-free illogical rants, and Miller's, and Micah's, try walking in our shoes sometime: our gauranteed Equal Protection rights under the Constitution are not there, like they are for your narrow views. It's not right.
The Constitution is a mighty battering ram, and we're damned tired of having it used improperly against us.

Enough is enough, and one way or another, the pendulum is finally swinging back to its proper middle. It's about damned time.

Anonymous said...

I always felt that being for and standing for God was what Christians were supposed to do. As far your characterization of "bigoted anti-gay", I think that is huge hyperbole. This group believes in Scripture...there is no gray area when it comes to the bible, despite man's desperate attempts to circumvent God's commands.

Sorry Advance, but you are WAY off line on this on. Maybe some deep prayer will help you get back on track.

Advance Indiana said...

Check out Focus on the Family or the AFA and you will find their websites and publications obsessing over homosexuality. And then there's Ted Haggard and long list of other of their leaders who say do as I say and not as I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally against do as I say and not as I do. However I do believe that there are those of us that are active in the gay community that oppose gay marrage and I oppose special rights. I'm a white male, I'm gay, I'm happy with it, but I dont believe in gay marrage or special rights. (For any one or any class). Does this mean I'm not gay enough? Am I one of these homophobes as well? LOL Gheesh, live and let live, no special rules needed.

Donna said...

Gary I believe you hit a nerve with some folks on this one.

In response to an executive order issued by President Clinton, an interesting and scathing letter was written by Dr. Dobson in July 1998 entitled “Dr. Dobson on Homosexuality” Full text can be read here: http://uhuh.com/laws/dobson.htm

In this letter Dr. Dobson stated:
"Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention . . call upon Congress to nullify the president's action through legislation unless the president first rescinds his order; and Be it finally RESOLVED, that we oppose all efforts to provide government endorsements, sanction, recognition, acceptance or civil rights advantage on the basis of homosexuality. “

The executive order he is referring to?
1 William J. Clinton, "Executive Order: Further Amendment to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government," May 28, 1998

"Section 1. It is the policy of the Government of the United States to provide equal opportunity in Federal employment for all persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program in each executive department and agency. This policy of equal opportunity applies to and must be an integral part of every aspect of personnel policy and practice in the employment, development, advancement, and treatment of civilian employees of the Federal Government, to the extent permitted by law. [Preamble deleted and sec. 1 amended by Executive Order 12106 of Dec. 28, 1978, 44 FR 1053, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 263, by Executive Order 13087 of May 28, 1998, 63 FR 30097, 3 CFR 1998 Comp., p. 191, and by Executive Order 13152 of May 2, 2000, 65 FR 26115.] "

And then here comes Dr. Dobson’s LIE:
“The wording guarantees that those who claim to be homosexuals (we have to take their word for it) will henceforth be given preferential treatment in hiring, firing and other job-related activities. Thus, if two men of equal qualifications are applying for the same position, a governmental official will be risking a lawsuit, or worse, if he chooses to hire the heterosexual. All of the civil rights policies that have applied historically to minorities will now be enforced on behalf of homosexuals.”

In case you missed “the wording” the executive order specifically stated:
“to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program in each executive department and agency.”

Dr. Dobson’s, Focus on the Family, and the like have a “political agenda” to persecute homosexuals and they are hiding behind their Bibles to disguise their bigotry. It is what it is.

And to them and all their followers:
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Advance Indiana said...

Well put, Donna.

donna said...

anon 8:15 AM EST

...However I do believe that there are those of us that are active in the gay community that oppose gay marriage and I oppose special rights. I'm a white male, I'm gay, I'm happy with it, but I don’t believe in gay marriage or special rights.

Great then don't get married. However, since marriage today is attached to state sanctioned rights the glbt community, especially those with children, must pursue full marriage equality. The quickest way for the Focus on the Family types to end this marriage debate is to push for legislation that detaches the state sanctioned rights from marriage. But this is the crux of the problem they WANT to DENY these civil rights to the glbt community. They want to reduce them to second-class citizens.

You certainly are entitled to your opinion. But I think you’re confused over "special rights". Equal access to rights that protect families, employment (based on merit), fair housing, public accommodations, AND education are not a "special rights" but a CIVIL RIGHTS.

Anonymous said...

No, Im not confused. Those rights already exist. We, everone IS protected by the rights already in place. Now, I agree, there are some hurdles to adpotion. I enjoyed growing up with two parents, one male on female, and I do think that is the better arrangement. OK, others will hate that, no problem, I have my own solution. No kids for me. As for the other special rights, well, I live in the same world you do. I am in fact, very active in legal circles and those rights you claim need to be special rights are there. MY POINT is this: Stop fighting for special rights. Fight using the laws in the books and you will be suprised how far you, we, can go. Because all ARE equal under the law. We can file suits against com[anies for discrimination for housing, for these items. Yea yea yea, there are cases where things have gone bad, well, guess what, that happens in the "straight" community as well. At this monent in time, this fight is a loosing battle. Use the laws we have and fight like hell. In the future, maybe in as little as 5-10 years the chance of the special rights laws will have a chance. I'm NOT saying quit, or stick your head in the sand, but I am saying USE the laws in place until we get where we all want to be. And please, stay in an honest debate, dont tell me Im not gay enough. I'm so F*&^king tired of hearing that for a few close friends because I think for myself and work within the existing system to make what I want to accomplish work.

Anonymous said...

Although this post is late, I still wanted to thank Gary for an enlightening post about Bopp, Focus on the Family and the latest IRS ruling. I hadn't visited Advance America's site until after reading your post, and I wonder how their site doesn't fun afoul of the 501(c)(3) status too. It sure looks to me like they're endorsing candidates when they label a candidate's voting record as "Pro-Family, Pro-Business, Pro-Church". Seems like they're telling voters who to vote for and who to oppose. Has the IRS looked into Miller's organization?

I hadn't run across Bopp until this year, but I wish you luck as you point out how harmful his agenda can be.

As a democrat, we may disagree on some issues, but I've also come to realize not all republicans are like Mr. Bopp. Too bad he's so vocal and influential.

Now I'll have to visit Dobson's site as well.

Donna said...

Anon says:
"No, Im not confused. Those rights already exist. We, everone IS protected by the rights already in place."

Be specific give me the statutes don't just spew nonsense.

"I enjoyed growing up with two parents, one male on female, and I do think that is the better arrangement."

Your opinion.

"I am in fact, very active in legal circles and those rights you claim need to be special rights are there."

Again, give me state law.

"Because all ARE equal under the law."

Baaawwhaaa! You're joking right? Gary who is this clown?

"And please, stay in an honest debate, dont tell me Im not gay enough. I'm so F*&^king tired of hearing that"

Where are you getting this? I've read all the posts 3 times and you're the only one stating this.

Look, if you don't want to fight for civil rights that is your right. Geez.

Anonymous said...

Donna,
As usual, you take Scripture out of context. You can make anything in the Bible fit your agenda. These verses refer to those who renounce sin, and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Specifically, Scripture is clear on homosexuality being a sin (I know those that want to continue to live this will vehemently point out "inconsistencies"). Therefore, if one continues to sin against God's commandments, the saving verses you quoted do not apply. I am sure I am to be labled a homophobe for this stance, but I must remain true to my God and Scripture. I will love my fellow man as I am commanded. I will continue to hate the sin that permeates. Donna, you have it wrong, and Advance, are you willing to bet your eternal life?

Advance Indiana said...

Anon, I've covered the better interpretation of those Bible scriptures you people rely on to cast out people who are born gay. You refuse to place them in a historical context. Words spoken thousands of years ago cannot be read literally without looking at the context in which they were spoken. Privileged men in those times often owned boy sex slaves. This placed a young male in a subservient role to another male in the context of a sexual relationship. That subservient role was thought appropriate for women, who were the property of their fathers and husbands. It is not at all a condemnation of homosexuality, but a condemnation of the mistreatment of a fellow male in a sexual relationship.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some serious hate from this story and the postings following it.

Donna said...

Gary,

On a final note I thought this was a very enlightening piece. Unfortunately there are some hearts that will never change. Just as during the civil rights movement the opponents utilize their “interpretation” of biblical scripture (scripture that has been proven to have been altered and hacked throughout history for political purposes) as justification for denying the rights of a minority group. Why? It makes them feel more superior as human beings I suppose.

Oh well. Slowly but surely thanks to blogs like yours and others, people are beginning to see through the rotten stinkin status quo.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess that means that labor unions and teachers unions should not be tax exempt either....

They label candidates as "pro-labor" and "pro-teacher". What's the big deal??

And by the way, AFA has a PAC, a political action committee, and Focus on the Family has a PAC and a C-4 organization which IS allowed to do political things.

Maybe you should know the facts before making accusations.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the Veritas Rex post which links to this one: http://veritasrex.typepad.com/veritas_rex/2007/09/focus-on-the-fa.html

John H said...

James Bopp is a flat out supremacist that rivals any of the 'greats', and that is kind considering what he would do if he had the power.