When the IRS started sending field agents to churches around election time last year, ministers began to take notice. The clause that allows churches and private schools to operate on a tax-exempt basis is taken seriously.

A lawsuit filed against Oral Roberts University this week by three fired professors alleges a violation of the provisions of the tax-exempt ban. The university plans to fight the lawsuit.

The professors allege they were asked to provide student labor to help in the failed mayoral campaign of Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller. They say they refused and blew the whistle on the university which received contact from the IRS in May of 2006.

One of the petitioners, Professor John Swails, was chair of a department and on the ORU faculty for 14 years. He and Professor Tim Brooker allege their reputations were damaged by the firings.

We occasionally get notices from church, university and government e-mail accounts that are political in nature. Perhaps, some employees don't realize they are endangering their tax-exempt status.

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