In the days before the 2009 election, registered voters of City Council 34 received prerecorded calls from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, praising City Council District candidate Vito J. Lopez. While the message did not instruct New Yorkers to vote for the bishop’s preferred candidate, it did walk a fine line that limits nonprofit organizations, which have tax-exempt status, from advocating for particular politicians. Professor Nelson Tebbe, an expert on religion and the Constitution, told the New York Times
, “There are constitutional rules and I.R.S. rules, and the I.R.S. rules are really more pertinent here.”Read
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