Subsidy to churches raises Establishment Clause issues for publicly owned electric company

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Santiago-Ramos v. Autoridad De Energia Electrica, (D PR, Sept. 18, 2012), is a lawsuit by an economic development corporation and one of its members against the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority alleging broadly that the public electric power company is used by the political party in power to favor various interests at the expense of ordinary consumers of electricity.  The complaint alleges a number of statutory and constitutional violations. Among the claims that the court refused to dismiss was the contention that the PREPA has promoted religion in violation of the Establishment Clause by giving $3,500,000 in subsidies to churches (and other non-profit organizations).