Douglas Wilder, First Black Governor in U.S. History and Former Governor of Virginia, Slams Kamala Harris for ‘Causing Churches to Lose Their Tax-Exempt Status’ With Voting Ad

Former Virginia Gov. L Douglas Wilder. (Steve Helber/AP)

Douglas Wilder, the only black governor in Virginia’s history, is no fan of the video endorsement Vice President Kamala Harris made for Terry McAuliffe, which is being played Sundays in hundreds of the Old Dominion’s black churches.

The ad, which ethics and legal experts say is a clear violation of IRS rules, is set to continue playing right up until the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election, as the Democratic Party pulls out all the stops to ensure black turnout. But a thumbs-down from the 90-year-old Wilder, a Democrat and highly respected voice in Virginia politics for decades, is significant.

“Well, it’s very good for her to do that, causing these churches to lose their tax-exempt status,” he quipped, referring to the Johnson Amendment, a rule that prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. “If this is legal, then it’s surprising to me.”

Wilder understands what’s at stake in the race between McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. Calling in Harris, the first vice president of color, to gin up black support shows Democrats know the race is deadlocked.

“In Virginia, the Democratic candidate has to have a strong turnout of black Americans. And if [McAuliffe] doesn’t get that, you’re going to see some problems,” said Wilder, who spoke from his home in Richmond.

Wilder questioned whether Virginia Democrats have done enough to be able to count on black voters to turn out for McAuliffe.

“What reasons do they have to turn out?” wondered Wilder, who held the post McAuliffe seeks from 1990-94.

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SOURCE: Washington Examiner, Katherine Doyle