AU Asks IRS to Investigate Oklahoma Group for Electioneering Against Transgender Candidate

Last Week, Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged the IRS to investigate an Oklahoma religious organization for violating federal law prohibiting tax-exempt groups from electioneering.

Americans United claims that Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, a tax-exempt organization, sent out an e-mail urging those on its email distribution list to support Rep. Sally Kern in her reelection campaign for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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Reid Plans to Bring DISCLOSE Act to Senate Floor before August Recess

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the DISCLOSE Act (the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act) to the Senate floor before the August recess. It was introduced in April by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to mitigate the effects of the January U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

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ACLU, Lawyers' Committee Intervene in Georgia Voting Rights Act Challenge

On July 6, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Georgia, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a motion to intervene in Georgia v. Holder, the state of Georgia's challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Georgia filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice because it wants the federal government to allow it to verify each voter's citizenship before allowing an individual to vote.

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House Passes DISCLOSE Act!

UPDATE: The House passed the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175) on Thursday by a vote of 219 to 206.

House Democrats initially planned to pass it last week, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had to pull the legislation from the floor and scrap the vote due to backlash and differing opinions over an exemption for the National Rifle Association (NRA). After broad opposition to the exemption for the NRA, changes were made for the exemption to cover more groups.

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Americans United Files IRS Complaint Against L.A. Church for Electioneering Through Social Media

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Oasis Church in Los Angeles. Americans United alleges that the church encouraged visitors to its website and followers on Twitter to support a specific political candidate.

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AU Asks IRS to Investigate Florida Church for Electioneering Against Gay Mayoral Candidate

Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate a Florida church for improper electioneering. Americans United filed the complaint against Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, as a result of the church posting a sign on its property that read, "No Homo Mayor," in an apparent attempt to deter people from voting for Craig Lowe, an openly gay Gainesville mayoral candidate.

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Social Innovation Fund Issues Proposed Notice of Funds Available; Requests Feedback

The Social Innovation Fund, a program of the Corporation for Community Service and the Obama administration’s major philanthropic effort, has issued a Proposed Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) and a request for feedback. SIF will award up to $50 dollars in federal funding during Fiscal Year 2010.

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FEC Proposes Rules to Comply With EMILY’s List Decision

On Dec. 17, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) proposed rules that would limit donations to some nonprofit groups that engage in campaign activity after the Justice Department announced that it would not appeal the EMILY’s List decision.

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Recent Push for Bipartisan Voter Reform Measures

Recent efforts to reform and modernize the voter system have received bipartisan support. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which would allow overseas troops and American citizens to access voter information online, passed Congress last week with bipartisan support from legislators who "decried an antiquated voting system that left as many as one out of four overseas ballots uncounted," according to Roll Call.

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Let the Mighty Waters Flow, Money That Is!

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in the EMILY’s List case today, striking down Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations that limited donations to nonprofit groups that are used for campaign activity. The regulations are intended to limit how nonprofit organizations raise and spend money for political campaigns.

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