This one is from a Congresswoman who isn't particularly fond of the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances:
Lynn Woolsey: IRS should scrutinize bishops
I expect political hardball on any legislation as important as the health care bill.
I just didn’t expect it from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Who elected them to Congress?
The role the bishops played in the pushing the Stupak amendment, which unfairly restricts access for low-income women to insurance coverage for abortions, was more than mere advocacy.
They seemed to dictate the finer points of the amendment, and managed to bully members of Congress to vote for added restrictions on a perfectly legal surgical procedure.
And this political effort was subsidized by taxpayers, since the Council enjoys tax-exempt status.
When I visit churches in my district, we are very careful to keep everything “non-political” to protect their tax-exempt status.
The IRS is less restrictive about church involvement in efforts to influence legislation than it is about involvement in campaigns and elections.
Given the political behavior of USCCB in this case, maybe it shouldn’t be.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
To be fair, we should give Woolsey the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this isn't about silencing the Democrats' critics.
And maybe when Woolsey visits churches in her district, she doesn't try to influence anyone to vote a particular way or to donate to any particular campaign. But just be sure, why don't we launch an investigation?
Woolsey's Threat Against the Bishops
Chris Matthews: Why are Catholic bishops on Capitol Hill lobbying Congress?