Thursday, September 28, 2006

Greta Browne Does Some Church Electioneering


Greta Browne, Queen of the Lehigh Valley Greens, is running for Congress ... again. And she's scheduled a vegetarian dinner fundraiser at prices between $30 and $50 a pop. I sure hope she's not serving spinach!

There's one tiny problem. Her shindig is at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, where she is entrenched as an associated minister. Under the Internal Revenue Code, a church is absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Oopsie!

Is this the face of "new politics"? Church electioneering? I thought only conservatives did that.

12 comments:

SPIKE_ROGAN said...

I'm waiting for the day when either the GOP puts so much money to "screw the democrats" behind the Greens that the GOP finishes third to the greens.

Or when will the Democratic party wake up and relize they could much more effectively splinter the Republican vote by giving the Constition Party and Libertarians more attention.

That would severly hurt the GOP considering Neo-Cons are more Libertairian and the Pat Buchanon wing (which has grown over the last 6 years thanks to the current administrations shortsighted policies) would be very strong considering they want out of Iraq.

But also are Pro-Life EVEN in cases of rape and incest and are gung ho for the marriage of church and state. (As long as its not a Queer Church.)

But the Democrats are too LAME to do this it seems. If they did, well the GOP giving donations to Greens and Nader would end faster than a TV show staring "The Boz"!!!

LVDem said...

if she is paying for use of the space she can do that. The church cannot make an in-kind contribution. Churches are allowed to rent their space to candidates so long as they charge. They can also sell their membership lists and mailing labels.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, A church can rent space out to one candidate if it is willing to do the same w/ all candidates. But if you look at the church's webpage and the part dealing w/ facilities rental, u=it does not appear to permit rental for political functions at all. It also appears to charge different rates to members than it would charge to nonmembers. In fact, I seriously question whether Queen Greta is paying a dime. I think it is probably an illegal in kind contribution, not that it matters. And I, for one, don't like to see any church stick its nose in politics, even when it's legal. I hate the "voter guides" from the local Catholic church.

Thanks for your insight.

Bernie Berg said...

Hey Bernie: like the R.C. Church didn't tell their "flock" to vote for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Not only that, but DeSales College or Allentown College or whatever the hell that institution that fairly drips with money and Republicanism is called (with its faculty regularly featured in The Morning Call Girl), no not Msgr. Forish soliciting blowjobs , but the faculty taking up the editorial page of The Morning Call Girl) is now inviting Richard Armitage to "lecture" its students. He'll no doubt discuss the moral theology of carpet-bombing Pakistan back to the stone age. So if Greta Browne is a minister, bully for her. So was William Sloan Coffin, Dan & Phil Berrigan, Fr. Drinan, and quite a few others that politicized their messages on the left. The reason that the Religious Right has most of the "faithful" going for Republican Anal Pores every election is so the "clergy" can keep their cushy jobs. If they ever dared preach the gospel they's be out on their ass without a job or paycheck. Bernie: Have your doctor either change your meds or increase them. The ones you are on now aren't holding you. Subcommandante Bernardo

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bernardo, That's Queen Greta to you, bippy. I share your disdain for how the Catholic church is trying to influence elections but doing little to preserve morality. There haver been a few good priests. You're one of them.

And you're right. I did forget my pills today. But I'm having a little trouble understanding your logic. As I understand it, you're saying that the face of "new politics" can trample all over elections laws because the major parties do it anyway. If this is so, then how is Queen Greta a face of "new politics"?

Now I'll return to the belly of the beast.

LVDem said...

If Greta has any integrity, she pays full price and then some. Period. End of story. Now. Damn it.

FtHillDem said...

While I pretty much agree with you on this issue, I really don't understand why you insist on preceeding Browne's name with "Queen". It is just name-calling, and I really think our political discourse would be better without it. "Boring" you say? Maybe "boring" has its good points.

I do agree that the likes of Browne and Nader (and Romanelli)should put their egos aside and butt out of electoral politics. George Bush would never have been President without Ralph Nader.

In this country, our "winner take all" system means that elections are all about picking the lesser of two evils. With proportional respresentation, that would not be the case. It makes sense to vote Green in Germany, but not here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

FtnHillDem, Without proportional representation, we will be burdened by a "tyranny of the majority." But it is this type of thinking that kept Lani Guinier out of Clinton's justice department. The country's not ready for change. For what it's worth, I'm all for proportional voting.

As far as the name-calling is concerned, I think it's entirely appropriate and fair criticism. Perhaps it's a reflection of my frustration when I myself was a Green. One reason local Greens were so ineffective as a political tool is that nothing could get done unless Queen Greta agreed. And how about the way she totally disregarded rank and file Greens like me two years ago by abandoning her candidacy to support a candidate who refused to speak out against the war? That was truly regal.

Sometimes the best way of saying what you think is by being honest and saying it.

r.moshki said...

Ah, the two famous Bernies--at last!

And just as Rush Limbaugh, they are "serving humanity." As is Greta
(The Queen of All Immigration) Browne.

When moshki asks himself why he does not commit suicide, he has no answer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hng in ther, Mr. Moshki. Someone is going to knock off either or both of the two Bernies eventually, and all will be well in your world again.

FtHillDem said...

I have to plead ignorance on your reference to Lani Guinier, and how it ties in with tyranny of the majority. If you have time, explain it for me.

As far as Browne throwing her support to Driscoll, well, that was an example of choosing the "lesser of two evils", but done in a very awkward way. In a system of proportional representation, the compromising would have been done after the election (to form a majority coalition), not before.

I also don't see a chance for that kind of a system here, although I think it would be great.

I also say to Mr. Moshki to hang in there. The two Bernies are really not so bad, and actually have quite good aspects to them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lani Guinier was Clinton's first choice for Ass't Att'y Gen'l for Civil Rights. Her nomination was withdrawn as a result of intense pressure from the right. She was attacked as undemocratic, and her book, "Tyranny of the Majority," was cited by her foes.

I was very moved by that book, which points to the example set by our children, where everyone gets their turn. Any majority, including a democratically elected majority, can become indifferent to the needs of a minority.

That's why it's a good idea to tinker with things like cumulative voting or proportional representation.

I believe Germany and a few other European countries use cumulative voting. The "winner takes all" mentality just doesn't work. We knew that when we were kids. I see it with the kids I watch on weekends. We seem to forget that.

And I second your sentiments about one of the Bernies, Bernie Berg. He's a terrific guy, a great writer, and even better speaker. I really admire him. And if Angle ever makes the mistake of asking me to guest host his show again, I want to bring Bernie on.

I don't agree w/ Bernie about everything (like his trespass at Dent HQs), but he's brilliant and wickedly funny.

Cumulative and other alternative voting patterns would be a great subject for a future post.