Yeah this is legally questionable…
Forget legal for a moment, this is totally unethical, for Steele and the pastors involved. Steele (who is, sadly, a Democrat) has long had ethical baggage coming out of his ears, but charging $50 a ticket to a prayer breakfast to raise money for your campaign is pretty sleazy.
Word to the wise to those three pastors on the invite. Might want to be careful about being involved with this. You wouldn’t want to see your church’s 501(c)3 tax-exempt status put at risk.
Update: Responding to some whining in the comments here. Pursuant to IRS rules, churches as tax exempt organizations have to avoid certain political activities. It’s all part of maintaining that important separation of church and state. While the pastors here have not crossed that line that the IRS rules lay out by being a part of this fundraiser dressed up as a prayer breakfast, I would again advise them to tread carefully as this certainly doesn’t look good.
In response to some of the comments, what is wrong with people “getting together and praying for a better world” is that they’re making a fifty dollar contribution to a candidate for office in order to do it, and yes, I do find politicians manipulating faith for dollars and political gain, no matter who it is done by, to be “sleazy”.