An investigation into possible misuse of donations has been launched against 6 nationally known ministries by the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finances – Senator Chuck Grassley R-Iowa.
TOB.com reports: Grassley, former chairman of the finance committee, said his requests for information came in response to complaints from the public and news coverage about practices at the six ministries. The allegations involve governing boards that aren’t independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances for church leaders, and amenities such as private jets and Rolls-Royces.
“I don’t want to conclude that there’s a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and taxpayers to find out more,” he wrote. “People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code.”
The specific request made to the World Healing Center Church, Inc. is found here: http://media.tbo.com/tbo/pdfs/110507hinn.pdf
A good friend of mine said recently, “When you search for something, you’ll find something!” Grassley is searching – make no mistake. Knowing nothing about the ministry (and admitting that openly), I would easily bet that World Healing Center Church and Benny Hinn Ministries employs teams of attorneys and accountants to make sure that the tax positions they take are squeaky clean. The issue for the government is tax revenue and tax exempt status. If the tax exempt status can be revoked or some of the income recharacterized, then more tax money for the government.
Keep in mind, however, Every Choice Has A Consequence! As a national speaker – having served time in Federal Prison for my choices, I know first hand the relationship between your choices and the consequences that follow. However, here the choices and consequences might be mostly perception. What do you think?
Compare Benny Hinn Ministries to Billy Grahams Ministries and while both are extremely successful, the Hinn Ministries are targeted due to the more opulent lifestyle of the ministry head – Benny Hinn. There would be no doubt that Billy Graham Ministries is a well funded ministry, but Billy Graham chooses to live a more reserved lifestyle. I doubt he suffers for any need, but few would call his lifestyle lavish.
Should churches and ministries have to answer the governments questions? Would less flamboyance yield less government attention? Is Grassley overusing his power as the ranking member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee? Or, has Benny Hinn Ministries overstepped their tax-exempt bounds?
More to come…and your comments are welcome!