Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Texas DA Looking Into Pastor's Role In Circulating Recall Petitions

In El Paso, Texas, Pastor Tom Brown and his Word of Life Church are under investigation by El Paso County district attorney Jaime Esparza for violation of state election laws. Brown is the leader of a recall drive aimed at the city's mayor and two city council members for their votes to restore health benefits to same-sex and unmarried domestic partners of city employees. When the city initially offered health benefits to same-sex couples, an initiative repealed those benefits, but also-- apparently inadvertently-- ended health benefits for 100 others as well. (See prior posting.) So City Council, in a tie vote broken by the mayor, voted to restore everyone's benefits. According to the El Paso Times, on Friday the district attorney announced that he is looking into whether efforts by Brown to circulate recall petitions at churches violates the state election code that prohibits corporations, including non-profit corporations, from circulating and submitting petitions to call an election. Americans United has already complained to the IRS about possible tax code violations growing out of Tom Brown Ministries' activities promoting the recall. (See prior related posting.)  Wall of Separation blog has more regarding AU's views.