Someone left a comment on this earlier post about the Grassley investigation, made me laugh about Robert Tilton. Robert Tilton not a crook preying on the gullible? Heh. I hadn't thought about this investigation for awhile, time to see what's happened up to now and if there's anything new.
Still going! Senator Grassley says that several of the evangelists have cooperated (Meyer-isn't she the lady that does exercises with her flock?- and Hinn, who has stepped down)
The Whites and Long have given some general answers, but Grassley’s staff is talking to their attorneys to get more. The Dollars have given no information, and Grassley’s staff is trying to determine whether attorneys will cooperate.
.. but NOT Kenneth Copeland.
Copeland has said that his church’s financial records are "God’s, and you’re not going to get it" and that the information would be released "over my dead body." In April, he turned to the IRS for a church tax inquiry rather than give the documents to Grassley.
"The church respectfully disagrees with Sen. Grassley’s position that churches are no different from any other tax-exempt organization," Kenneth Copeland Ministries said in a statement Monday. "Any government inquiry into the affairs of a church raises serious constitutional issues that must be carefully balanced against the government’s need to evaluate the effectiveness of the laws of the land.
"The most successful non-profit organizations recognize the need for transparency about their operations and accountability to their donors and the taxpaying public," Grassley said today. "They appreciate that Congress has a responsibility to review the effectiveness and fairness of tax laws for taxpayers and tax-exempt groups alike."
"It is not unexpected that some people who are doing something wrong do not want to report it," Grassley said.
Here are the evangelists that were being investigated
Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Three of the six - Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar - also sit on the Board of Regents for the Oral Roberts University. ...
How extensive is the investigation?
Almost 100 entities related to the six churches and their ministers are involved in the investigation. There are some concerns that churches may give minister status to various employees to make them eligible for tax-free housing benefits. And some churches have made employees sign confidentiality agreements so they cannot talk about a church’s activities, according to Grassley’s memo
Joyce Meyer is making some changes.
Joyce Meyer Ministries is undertaking internal reforms in the wake of a congressional inquiry into its finances, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said.
The extent of the changes is unclear. Grassley's staff declined to elaborate.
Grassley is consulting with Senate attorneys to see what steps need to be taken next.
The Grassley memo also provides an update on the investigation. It says preliminary research by Senate staff has found that there are almost 100 entities related to the six churches, as well as the ministers. It’s unclear whether they are non-profit or for-profit, and whether they conduct activities directly with churches – which has a bearing on tax laws.
There are also concerns about whether churches are complying with tax law when determining compensation for ministers, the memo said, and that churches may be awarding minister status to members just so they can claim tax-free housing benefits.
"Some ministers may also be claiming parsonage allowances for multiple personal residences across the country as well as overseas," the memo said.