Missouri Attorney General and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley speaks to supporters during a campaign stop Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, in St. Charles, Mo. Hawley is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Hawley to speak at university chapel, despite IRS guideline

September 28, 2018 - 1:51 pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri's Republican Senate nominee Josh Hawley opposes a federal provision that bars religious organizations from political endorsements, and his upcoming appearance at a Baptist university may provide a test case for the future of the measure.

Hawley, the state's attorney general, is scheduled to speak Wednesday during chapel at Hannibal-LaGrange University. His Democratic opponent, incumbent Claire McCaskill, is not invited.

Chapel is mandatory for full-time students and open to the public.

At issue is an IRS provision known as the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other religious organizations from candidate endorsements. Doing so could cost them their tax-exempt status, and a fine.

Hawley favors repealing the amendment. He has said he hopes the IRS will "fine a pastor" to create a legal challenge.

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