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January 6, 2011

Grassley Investigation Ends with No Penalty for Televangelists

Sen. Chuck Grassley's investigation of televangelists finished with no penalties for the pastors who did not cooperate and found no definitive instances of wrongdoing, the Associated Press reports.

Grassley (R-Iowa), who launched the investigation in 2007, released the report at the end of his tenure as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Two of the targeted televangelists — Joyce Meyer, based in Missouri and Benny Hinn, based in California — told Grassley that they have made changes in how they govern their ministries or set compensation.

But four of the televangelists would not provide full information about their finances. Some questioned whether Grassley had the authority to conduct the investigation. Others accused him of violating their religious freedom.

Grassley's staff said in the report that they did not issue subpoenas to further the investigation because witnesses feared retaliation if they spoke out publicly and the Finance Committee did not have the time or resources to enforce the subpoenas.

The televangelists who did not provide full information included Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Bishop Eddie Long, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, and Randy and Paula White. See more of CT's previous coverage here.

And in other television news, Ted Haggard is getting his own reality project on TLC called Ted Haggard: Scandalous. The one-hour special will debut on January 16, according to Entertainment Weekly. In 2006, a male escort had alleged that Haggard had paid him for sex and drugs, leading him to step down as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and as senior pastor of New Life. started St. James Church in Colorado Springs last May.

Comments

This investigation was a great waste of taxpayer dollars!!

Not impressed, not surprised at all; is just more of the same old!


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I think the investigation is a good idea as it will get the dishonest ones out of business. It is not a violation of their religious freedom if they are conning their followers of their money. I realize that they need the money to buy television time, but there are some that use their profits for their own gain instead of using the money to help other people. Their God is the almighty dollar instead of the almighty God!

You must read the entire report! Copelands is 28 pages long by itself! Read the report in its entirety! http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=30359

The report noted how an insider advised the panel of how it was the VoA organization had their employees "ordained" just so they could exploit the tax free housing allowance.

What the panel appaers to have missed was how George Bush and Omar Burleson were able to get the IRS to roll over for their constituents employed by certain private schools (ACU, Pepperdine, et al) and ever since such private school employees (e.g., basketball coaches and such) have been registering as "ministers" so they could exploit the tax free ministerial housing allowance.

The FFRF suit challenging the constitutionality of the ministerial housing allowance should be supported and should receive more media attention.

It appears Congress and the President are not going to remedy any of the housing allowance problems any time soon.

How any Christian could be against financial accountability is completely baffling to me. I applaud Sen. Grassley for taking this on and am deeply saddened that the charlatans and crooks who hide behind a cloak of Christianity for financial gain are not spending time behind bars. Those who fear financial transparency have very good reasons and non of them are virtuous.

I applaud this investigation. I only wish they used all powers available to them to truly have an in-depth investigation. As it stands, they were able to make a few of these crooks show their hand. Men of God should and must be transparent in all that they do. If not, they are deceivers of God's people. And who is the arch deceiver? It would appear that is who they represent. I know from personal experience how they prey on and badger elderly believers out of their money. My mother has sent these same clowns under this investigation, $800-$1500 dollars a month for over 23 years; until I put a stop to it.They call her on the phone and send countless letters asking for money. They are crooks!

yes christians need to expose these shysters for exactly what they are. snake oil salesman...