And who (if I can be forgiven for possibly staying with the baseball metaphor a bit too long) served up the big, juicy, hanging curveball? None other than the good reverend, "Father" Michael "Snuff 'Em Out" Pfleger. You see, Mr. Codrea has noticed that Pfleger's St. Sabina Church seems to be enjoying a tax-exempt status to which it is not entitled.
Mr. Codrea goes into it in detail, so be sure to hit the above link and check out what he has discovered, but the extremely bare-bones version is that Pfleger's St. Sabina Church is a 501(c)(3) corporation, which makes it tax exempt, and makes donations tax deductible. All that is well and good, but there are restrictions (of course there restrictions--with the feds, you just gotta have restrictions). Among those restrictions is the rule that as a condition for the coveted tax-exempt status, the organization must refrain from overtly seeking to engage in politics, and efforts to influence the legislative process. Mr. Codrea shows multiple examples of the "church's" endeavors along those very lines.
Looks pretty cut and dried, doesn't it? It certainly does to me, but then again, I'm not the IRS, and it seems that the "authorities" have a habit of giving Pfleger a free pass for outright criminal activities. I'm not referring to Saturday's apparent attempt to incite murder (another issue for which it is too early to say what consequences, if any, he will face), but to some lesser crimes.
As an example, he has engaged in numerous gun "buy-backs" that would certainly seem to violate Illinois law (and possibly even federal law), but has never faced prosecution.
Illinois gun rights activists say this is illegal under state law because Father Pfleger does not have a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card, nor is he a licensed firearms dealer. Under the law, they insist, he can’t legally take possession of a gun, not even for a little while. Other people get in trouble for doing the same thing.He has also vandalized signs that offended him (his contempt for the Second Amendment is well documented, but apparently, he's pretty selective about who should get to enjoy the benefits of the First Amendment, as well). Despite the fact that he did not contest the obvious fact that he committed that crime, he was acquitted.
A call to the CAGE unit was no help. The man who answered would not give his name, became rude when asked about the gun turn-in project, and declined an offer to call me back at my office to confirm he was actually speaking to a reporter. When I asked to speak to his supervisor, his response was, “I am the supervisor.” He then hung up on me.
In his crusade, Pfleger has gone so far as to spend several hours in jail for painting over cigarette and liquor signs. Charged with criminal damage to property, Pfleger admitted the vandalism in court in July 1991 but argued that he had a moral right to act. The jurors agreed and acquitted him.So clearly, Pfleger seems to be permitted to play by a different (and much more forgiving) set of rules than those imposed on the vast majority of us. Perhaps, though, the IRS, as a federal agency, will be less affected by whatever grip Pfleger seems to hold on the Chicago political machine.