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IRS Intimidated Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse with Unfair Audits?

(UPDATED) So claims Franklin Graham in a letter to President Barack Obama.

Update (May 21): Religion News Service has compiled a running list of religious organizations that all say they were inappropriately targeted by the IRS.


Update (May 16): The Southern Baptist state newspaper that sparked the recent Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy, as well as pro-life advocates, are also claiming to have been targeted by the IRS audits.


Franklin Graham complained to President Barack Obama today that IRS agents unfairly audited his two ministries, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan's Purse, in an attempt to intimidate them after the BGEA ran controversial election ads in Billy Graham's name.

In a letter, Franklin Graham claims that the IRS's acknowledged inappropriate targeting of groups with "tea party" and other conservative buzzwords in their names–a scandal which continues to snowball–extended to Christian and Jewish groups.

Both the BGEA and Samaritan's Purse passed the audits and retained their tax-exempt status. But Franklin Graham says the audits, which "wasted" ministry time and money, were not "coincidence" or "justifiable."

The Charlotte Observer, among many outlets, has posted the full text of the letter.

In the wake of the 2012 ads, CT gathered reactions from Billy Graham's biographer, spokesperson, and historian to address the question: Has Billy Graham has suddenly turned political?

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