Priests Barred (by ArchBishop's Directive) Barred from Donating to Candidates (from Electionlaw list)

Scarberry, Mark Mark.Scarberry at
Sat Jun 28 15:29:16 PDT 2008

It seems the basis for Denver Archbishop Bishop Chaput's upcoming directive that priests not donate is that by donating they are endorsing a candidate, which is prohibited by a US Conference of Catholic Bishops document. Campaign contribution disclosure rules turn a private donation into a public statement/public endorsement, and thus they work to prevent donations by persons who must, for religious reasons, donate nonpublicly or not at all. Any possibility that a priest who honestly believes his faith requires him to provide financial support for a (pro-life, or an anti-death penalty, or a pro-social justice) candidate could succeed with a RFRA claim that the federal disclosure law burdens his free exercise of religion? Is there a serious possibility that such nondisclosed donations by priests would cause corruption? Maybe in light of the priest sex abuse scandals (not necessarily more prevalent for priests than for others but certainly more publicized), and in light of other interests that clergy may have (tax laws, etc.), there could be a concern about influence buying, but clergy seem an unlikely group to have the personal wealth necessary to succeed. 
Mark Scarberry


From: election-law-bounces at on behalf of Rick Hasen
Sent: Sat 6/28/2008 1:35 PM
To: Election Law
Subject: [EL] Electionlawblog news and commentary 6/28/08

June 28, 2008 

"Priests barred from donations to candidates"

AP offers this report <>  from Colorado.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 01:27 PM <>  

Rick Hasen
William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law
Loyola Law School
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA  90015-1211
(213)380-3769 - fax
rick.hasen at <> 

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