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Liberty President Stated Goal of ‘Getting People Elected’

October 28, 2021
 
 

Liberty University president Jerry Prevo told a top university official that he wanted the university’s internal think tank to become more effective at “getting people elected,” Politico reported, raising new questions about the political activities of the evangelical Christian university, which as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity is prohibited from participating in political campaigns.

“Are they getting people elected? Which is one of our main goals,” Prevo said on a recorded call. “Are they really motivating our conservative people to really get out to vote? If they are, we ought to be seeing some changes in elected officials -- and we are to some extent. All I want to do is to make us more effective.”

Scott Lamb, Liberty’s former senior vice president for communications and public engagement, recorded the call and provided it to Politico. Lamb, who oversaw the think tank, was fired earlier this month, in part, he says, for raising concerns about possible violations of Liberty’s tax-exempt status. He filed a federal lawsuit Monday in which he also alleged that Liberty fired him in retaliation for concerns he’d raised about the university’s handling of sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Liberty officials denied violating the terms of the university’s tax-exempt status in a statement to Politico.

“President Prevo knows the lines established by the IRS for political engagement by 501(c)(3) organizations, even if Scott Lamb does not,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “The IRS recognizes that conservative 501(c)(3) organizations can legally register and get out conservative voters in hopes of having a more conservative government.”

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