PAC foe complains to IRS about Boebert’s June speaking engagement at Basalt church

The complaint was referred to in a defamation lawsuit filed in North Carolina last week against Boebert by American Muckrakers

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaking to the Cornerstone congregation on June 28.
From YouTube

A complaint over a Sunday service with Rep. Lauren Boebert as the featured speaker at Cornerstone Christian Center alleges the Basalt church’s nonprofit status with the IRS precluded it from hosting a political event by not inviting other candidates to talk.

The complaint was referred to in a defamation lawsuit filed in North Carolina last week against Boebert by American Muckrakers, which in the lead-up to the June primary elections made salacious allegations against the conservative Silt congresswoman.

American Muckrakers and founder David Wheeler, a North Carolina resident, are suing Boebert over comments she made to the media, including on the “Sean Hannity Show,” after the allegations surfaced. Ever since Boebert’s allegedly defamatory remarks were made, combined with what the suit accused Boebert of “malicious prosecution” for filing a protection order against Wheeler, the PAC’s contributions decreased by 92% from June through September.

The lawsuit is unrelated to the “tax-exempt organization complaint” Wheeler filed with the IRS over Boebert’s speaking engagement at the Cornerstone church, where she addressed the congregation at two Sunday services June 26 — two days before the June primaries.

Nine days ahead of the service, Wheeler emailed Cornerstone Pastor Jim Tarr asking if Republican state Sen. Don Coram, who was challenging Boebert in the June primary, could also speak at the service. And if Coram could not, Wheeler volunteered to speak on his behalf.

“Our understanding is that Rep. Lauren Boebert will be speaking from the stage at your Sunday, June 26, 2022, service,” said Wheeler’s email to Tarr. Wheeler provided the email in response to a request from The Aspen Times. “If this is the case, would you allow me or Senator Don Coram (who we do not represent but is Boebert’s opponent in the primary) to also speak before or after her speech?”

Tarr did not respond to a call seeking comment Monday, and Wheeler said Tarr also did not respond to his email requests from June. The IRS also did not respond to a phone call.

On its website, the IRS says it prohibits nonprofit organizations “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. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”

In his introductory remarks to Boebert appearance at the second service, available on YouTube, Pastor Tarr said, “She’s not afraid of the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In a fiery speech to the Cornerstone faithful, Boebert said, “I’m not going to get too political with you guys because I really can’t stand politics. I love Jesus and I promise if there was something else that he would have called me to, I would have done that with just as much enthusiasm, but this where he called me.”

Boebert then addressed the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade two days earlier on June 24.

“Look at what happened this week with the Supreme Court,” she said. “Glory to God. Think about that — 49 years of Roe V. Wade. Forty-nine years, 63 million children lost, and because God called a man who is not a politician to run for office, and I believe that he was anointed for that position. He answered that call despite whatever people were saying. … and three Supreme Court justices were installed, and now five years from today we can look back and see children running and laughing with smiles on their faces going to school — children who would not have an opportunity to live.”

Her criticism of the separation of church and state at Cornerstone went viral after The Denver Post first reported it.

“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church,” she said. “That is not how our founding fathers intended it. … I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.”

After American Muckrakers went public in June with allegations that Boebert had two abortions and was once a paid escort, Boebert denied the claims and threatened to sue the PAC. Boebert has yet to file suit over the allegations, but on June 25 she filed for a protection order against Wheeler, which a Garfield County judge dismissed in August, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.

The Sentinel quoted from Boebert’s complaint as saying in part, “I understand that, as public official (sic) and a public figure, I am subject to public scrutiny and strongly support the First Amendment rights of the American people, but David Wheeler’s actions have expanded to physical and verbal threats that has caused me to fear for my safety and the safety of my family. I have been repeatedly stalked, contacted, harassed and threatened by David Wheeler.”

Boebert, a first-term House representative, is running against former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch, a Democrat, in the November contest.

Wheeler said Monday that his PAC is letting up on Boebert for now but is not entirely done.

“We’ll keep digging on her,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of things coming out, but primarily our work is done. Voting is starting very soon, and we don’t also want her to use us as an excuse to beat up on Frisch.”