Reading Time: < 1 minute

Wisconsin Watch, a nonprofit newsroom, is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Sign up for our newsletter for more stories straight to your inbox.


Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin Tim Michels made a campaign appearance and gave a speech at the Sunday service of the DaySpring Baptist Church in Pewaukee, Wisconsin on Sept. 25, 2022. 

Since 1954, the Internal Revenue Code has absolutely prohibited all 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, “from directly or indirectly participating in … any political campaign on behalf of … any candidate for elective public office.” A violation may result in the denial or revocation of tax-exempt status. 

Some religious leaders have shown disapproval for the prohibition on political campaigning—including some that have openly violated it. One 2017 survey of Protestant pastors showed 73% held the belief that Congress should remove the ban. Nonetheless, due mainly to capacity issues, the IRS does not enforce the regulation often, experts say.


Tim Michels: Tweet about campaign appearance at church on September 25

DaySpring Church and Schools: Livestream including Tim Michel’s campaign appearance at church on September 25

Internal Revenue Service: IRS tax guide for churches and religious organizations

United Press International: Partisan pulpit: Pastor’s defiance spurs debate on election law

Baptist News Global: Does the Johnson Amendment have any teeth left?

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

Avatar photo

Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.