Minnesota Congressman threatens pro-family priest with IRS enforcement action

Father John Echert sent the following to Kriesel:

Dear Representative Kriesel:
Greetings from Father John Echert, Pastor of the Parishes of Holy Trinity and St. Augustine in South St. Paul. I am writing to you specifically in regards to the proposed Marriage Amendment under consideration here in Minnesota in light of an email exchange which you recently had with my Associate Pastor, Father Robert Grabner.

Within your response you wrote, “Unfortunately I do not support the Marriage Amendment and will not be voting for it.” I am very saddened to learn this, especially since I had encouraged one of our parishioners, one of your campaign advocates, to have you come to our parish Fall Festival last October so that parishioners could meet you in the days leading up to the elections. Also, as a military Chaplain here in the Minnesota Air National Guard I have been using you as a heroic example of resiliency in our monthly Yellow Ribbon Program for recently returned deployers.

I ask you to please reconsider your position on this critical matter. While we can legitimately debate issues related to finances and politics, those that are grounded upon basic moral principles and family values are rooted in the laws of God. I am commencing this week with a parish campaign to promote support for a Marriage Amendment in Minnesota; I hope that you will be among those elected officials upon whom we can count for your efforts at the leadership level to protect traditional marriage in our state.

Sincerely,
Father John Echert

An aide to Kriesel sent back this response:

Mr. Echert,
I would like to respectfully remind you that the Internal Revenue Service frowns upon churches and religious organizations devoting time to influencing legislation. Your admission of the commencement of a politically involved “campaign” will probably violate several state and federal tax provisions.

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