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GOP Senator Investigates Spending at Several TV Ministries

Just a heads up…

From WaPo:

Some of the nation’s biggest televangelists — including faith healer Benny Hinn and best-selling Christian book author Joyce Meyer — are targets of an investigation by Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

After receiving reports of lavish spending at the ministries, Grassley said yesterday that he has requested detailed documents on the finances of the organizations, which bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in donations annually.

All of the ministries have been the target of complaints for years by watchdog organizations, which have alleged that the groups’ charismatic leaders dip deeply into donations to fund extravagant lifestyles.

The Grassley investigation is “well-deserved and well-overdue,” said Rusty Leonard, who runs MinistryWatch.com, which examines how nonprofit Christian organizations spend donations.

Under Internal Revenue Service regulations, religious organizations “whose principal purpose is the study or advancement of religion” are exempt from financial reporting requirements demanded of other groups.

The ministries are “organized as churches, and therefore they don’t have to give you any financial information whatsoever,” Leonard said. [snip…]

The other televangelists under investigation include Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church, based in Tampa; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, based in Newark, Tex.; and from Georgia, Bishop Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International.

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