Guest / Limited Access /

A ministry that has refused to cooperate fully with a financial investigation launched by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has invited the Internal Revenue Service to conduct its own inquiry instead.

Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas, made the request on April 7. "We will provide answers to the IRS regarding questions that Senator Grassley has," said John Copeland, the ministry's CEO. "The church desires to protect its and all other churches' First Amendment rights, and by this action, we believe we are doing just that."

Rusty Leonard, founder of North Carolina–based MinistryWatch.com, a watchdog organization, called the efforts by Copeland "deceptive and misleading," because any investigation by the IRS would be confidential.

Grassley's office reported on March 31 that four of the six ministries under investigation are cooperating. Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, had asked last November for detailed information about the spending practices of the ministries—all legally registered as churches and thus not required to file disclosure forms with the IRS.

Creflo Dollar Ministries in College Park, Georgia, has also refused to submit financial records, expressing concerns about congregants' privacy. Grassley and committee chairman Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had asked ministries that weren't cooperating fully to submit materials by March 31. "As for the Copeland request for an audit from the IRS, Senator Grassley has always said that the IRS enforces existing law, while Congress evaluates the adequacy of existing law," said Jill Gerber, a spokeswoman for the committee. "The two functions are completely different."



Related Elsewhere:

Our previous coverage of the Grassley investigation ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Passages
Denise Isom, Ken Behn, and Rodney Hammer resign; Dottie Rambo and Maria Sue Chapman dead.
RecommendedWhat It's Like to Live On Less Than Two Dollars a Day
What It's Like to Live On Less Than Two Dollars a Day
Sociologist Kathryn Edin talks about what she learned from spending time with families that live on less than the price of a gallon of milk.
TrendingBlessed Are the Agnostics
Blessed Are the Agnostics
How I learned to see my unbelieving husband through God’s eyes.
Editor's PickWhy the Local Church Is Trending Up
Why the Local Church Is Trending Up
We needn't be afraid about the future of our congregations.
Christianity Today
Change of Address
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.