Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ECFA Encouraged More Ministries Cooperating with Grassley Inquiry

ECFA Encouraged More Ministries Cooperating with Grassley Inquiry

MEDIA ADVISORY, March 31 /Christian Newswire/ -- The statement below was issued today by Ken Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), after today's deadline by the Senate Finance Committee that those televangelism ministries under inquiry by the committee that have not yet complied with its request for information do so:

"The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is encouraged that more of the ministries under inquiry by the Senate Finance Committee are choosing to cooperate. Financial transparency is the cornerstone of financial integrity for nonprofits. ECFA stands ready to assist ministries, churches, schools and other organizations achieve and maintain that integrity.

"For almost 30 years, ECFA has encouraged the transparency of financial information, along with good governance, audited financial statements and strong financial controls, as being keys to financial accountability and integrity.

"I appreciate the concern expressed by some regarding any encroachment of our religious liberties. At the same time, I am confident that ministries that demonstrate a willingness to comply with existing regulations regarding compensation, taxable benefits, charitable gift receipting and clergy housing allowances actually improve donor confidence in our religious charities."


The memorandum below was issued today by Sen. Charles Grassley:


To: Reporters and Editors
Fr: Jill Gerber for Sen. Grassley, 202/224-6522
Re: Ministry responses
Da: Monday, March 31, 2008

On March 11, Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, chairman, wrote follow-up letters to four ministries that had not provided information in response to Grassley's letter of Nov. 5, 2007, inquiring about various issues related to tax-exempt policy. The senators encouraged the ministries to cooperate and asked for a response by today. The latest accounting is:

On Friday, March 28, the Benny Hinn/World Healing Center Church delivered a second submission of information on cd and in hard copy form. This was the ministry's second submission in a "rolling production" of documents.

Also on Friday, March 28, Senator Grassley's tax staff spoke with a lawyer for Randy and Paula White, who indicated that the Whites' first batch of answers has been FedExed to Senator Grassley. The material was scheduled for delivery today but may take some time to get through Senate mail security screening.

The Eddie Long ministry said last week that it would be providing information in response to the March 11 letter on April 15. Senator Grassley plans to continue dialogue with the Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland ministries. The committee is beginning its review of the material that has been received, as well. Senator Grassley made the following comment on the status:

"It's good to see the majority of the ministries offering information. They receive generous tax breaks as non- profit organizations. In general, the federal Treasury forgoes billions of tax dollars a year to tax-exempt groups. The ministries' sharing of material with the Senate committee in charge of tax policy shows an interest in accountability for their special tax status."


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