Kenneth Copeland Ministries – Why Not Comply with Grassley’s Requests? What’s There to Hide?

On November 5, 2007 Senator Charles Grassley wrote six ministries – one being Kenneth Copeland Ministries – asking a series of questions related to the non-profit organizations’ expenses, treatment of donations and business practices. The questions were based on presentations of material from watchdog groups and whistleblowers and on investigative reports in local media outlets.

 

Of the six ministries from whom material has been requested – according to a news release from Senator Grassley:

Three ministries have not cooperated, citing privacy protections or questioning the committee’s standing to request the information. Baucus and Grassley wrote to them on March 11 to describe the committee’s jurisdiction and role in determining the effectiveness of tax policy developed by the committee, distinct from the Internal Revenue Service’s role, which is to enforce existing law.

 

The three ministries are: Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Newark, Texas; Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International/Creflo Dollar Ministries College Park, Ga.; and Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church/Eddie L. Long Ministries, Lithonia, Ga.

Senator Grassley and Senator Max Baucus sent the following letter to the Copeland Ministries requesting their cooperation again! The letter is shown below:

March 11, 2008

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland

Kenneth Copeland Ministries

14355 Morris Dido Road

Newark, TX 76071

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Copeland:

 

As senior members of the United States Senate and as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, it is our duty under the Constitution to conduct oversight into matters related to legislation enacted by Congress. The purpose of oversight is to determine how well a particular agency of the executive branch is administering legislation enacted by Congress, if a particular law or section of the law is being administered in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress and what changes might be required to a law to improve and enhance it. Oversight through the committee system is an important way for Congress to determine if the laws of this country are sound and if they are administered according to the intent of Congress.

One of the roles of the Finance Committee under the Standing Rules of the Senate encompasses the exercise of oversight over the administration of the federal tax revenue system by the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that its rules and procedures meet the purpose and intent of the revenue code, including those rules applicable to non-profit organizations. In order to do this effectively, the Committee needs to understand clearly and specifically how non-profit organizations are structured and operate.

On November 5, 2007, Ranking Member Grassley sent a letter requesting information from your ministry related to the laws that govern tax-exempt organizations. While the inquiry is not part of an enforcement action, which would properly belong to the IRS, it is within the jurisdiction of the Committee to make these inquiries. The Committee conferred with the Senate Legal Counsel to ensure that the letter was well within the scope of the authority of the Committee and that it does not infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Prior to your organization determining whether to submit the requested information, Committee staff members met with your legal counsel to explain the purpose of the investigation and to address your specific concerns. The Committee recognizes the concerns regarding the privacy and confidentiality of certain records and has offered to work with your organization to protect any proprietary or confidential information. Unfortunately, the information submitted by your organization was incomplete. Staff members contacted your legal counsel in an attempt to secure further cooperation and once again address your concerns. To date, you and/or your legal counsel have not provided the requested information to Senator Grassley, nor offered any assurances that the information would be forthcoming.

The Committee continues to hope that mutually respectful discussions will enable the Committee to obtain the requested information without resorting to compulsory process. Therefore, as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, we are affording you another opportunity to send the information requested by Senator Grassley in the letter dated November 5, 2007. Our office should receive the requested documentation no later than March 31, 2008.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to your cooperation.

Sincerely,

 

Max Baucus Charles Grassley

Chairman Ranking Member

What I must admit I’m confounded by is why Kenneth Copeland and his ministries refuse to cooperate. It states in the Bible – Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. In this case Caesar is the government and the law which gives Kenneth Copeland Ministries the right to operate in a tax free environment. If all laws are being followed, then what is there to hide?

Copeland, in my opinion, has made some amazing statements in his effort to elect not to comply. The following is quoted from a report in the Baptist Press:

Kenneth Copeland Ministries provided a cover letter from its legal counsel, 23 pages of answers to questions and 291 pages of supporting material in response to Grassley’s initial request, Copeland said on the ministry’s website. The information was “incomplete,” however, Baucus and Grassley said in their letter to the Copelands.

Copeland lambasted Grassley in a Jan. 22 address at his annual ministers conference, according to a report in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Saying he would not disclose information on his ministry’s donors, Copeland said, “You can go get a subpoena, and I won’t give it to you! It’s not yours, it’s God’s and you’re not going to get it and that’s something I’ll go to prison over. So, just get over it! And if there’s a death penalty that applies, well just go for it!

“You wanna get in a faith fight with me?” Copeland said, according to Roll Call. “Why, just come on. But, I’m gonna warn you. I fight dirty. I got somebody else does my fighting for me. I just sit back and watch.

“I just throw the first punch and then get out and let my angels go to work.”

Let my angels go to work? I believe in the power of God. I also believe in the responsibility we have to comply with the law and respect the law of man, just as we should respect the law of God. From an ethics perspective what does this all mean? The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has encouraged cooperation by the televangelists, but the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) has expressed concerns about the probe’s implications for ministries.

None of the six ministries is a member of either ECFA or NRB.

“It’s good to see the majority of the ministries offering information,” Grassley said. “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.”

As of the deadline – Kenneth Copeland Ministries and those ministries of Creflo Dollar have refused to cooperate fully (if much as all).

What are the ethics ramifications of these ministries refusing to cooperate?

Your comments are welcome!

 

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63 Responses to Kenneth Copeland Ministries – Why Not Comply with Grassley’s Requests? What’s There to Hide?

  1. buzzboy443 says:

    Here is another perspective you may want to consider. It is a blog entitled “Kenneth Copeland’s Jet” http://dougwead.wordpress.com/2008/04/12/kenneth-copelands-jet/

  2. navymom says:

    Rendering unto Caesar would mean to give to the “correct” office what it’s entitled to have. The IRS is the correct gov’t office to do a church tax inquiry as per Senator Grassley’s own bill from several years ago. As far as I can see Eagle Mountain International Church/Kenneth Copeland Ministries has done that by their CEO John Copeland delivering a letter requesting and welcoming that dept of the gov’t to do just that. They’ve offered the information to the appropriate dept. That would tell me they aren’t trying to hide anything.

  3. Phredone says:

    I think you are missing the point Kenneth Copeland is arguing. He has agreed to disclose all financial information to the IRS. What he is not willing to do is have all of the Church’s private information put on public display for all to see and selectively comment on. I personally have nothing to hide but will not put my financial records out on the internet, how about you? You ask what are the ethics ramifications of not cooperating with Sen. Grassley, I say what are the ethical ramifications of making public the names and contributions of the members of a Church?

  4. And who said that would be published on the internet? Your argument doesn’t hold water as I see it. If Copeland has nothing to hide and a Senate committee has requested information to clear Copeland of accusations of violating the law – then he should, like the others, give it willingly. Failure to comply is hiding something and I’m curious what it is?

  5. baptista1 says:

    But he has already requested the IRS to do an audit. Surely, if someone had something to hide, he wouldn’t sic the IRS on himself, would he? And I have some problems with Grassley’s office wanting the names of all the speakers and musicians. Why would they need that? Would that mean they were next on the list to be investigated? I am all for accountability, but something about this doesn’t feel right at all. I think Thomas Jefferson would have been outraged.

  6. Phredone says:

    Why do i think it will be oposted ion the Internet? This whole issue started when Sen Grassley sent his letters to the Media the same time he sent them to theChruches. Once again you have ignored the fact that Copeland has asked the IRS to come look at the finances of the Church. If Sen Grassley is truly only looking to see if there has been any improper use of funds what a better ay to find out than an IRS audit.

  7. The request for an IRS audit is only a diversion. What Kenneth Copeland seems to be saying is that he doesn’t want to be accountable for a Senate inquiry, rather, he would prefer to be in control of who and/or how he is investigated.

    I run a sales organization. I see this happen all the time. I ask for specific information as I am accountable for making sure we comply with our policies and guidelines. More times than not, when a sales counselor resists providing it to me and rather suggests that they should give it to their immediate supervisor, they are stalling or using a diversion tactic in order to refocus attention from themselves.

    Now some may say, well this is different. What’s different? Of the six ministers three responded and one responded quickly. Have you seen her information all over the internet? No! Have you seen her contributor list all over the internet? No! So the concept that Kenneth Copeland ministries would in some way be harmed seems baseless as those who have complied have suffered no harm. In fact, rather, they have been left alone and are not the topic of discussion.

    Copeland is looking rather foolish by fighting a political battle and saying that God will win the war. Copeland wins the war, by being compliant and following the letter of the law. He should re-evaluate his position and turn the data over. He has nothing to lose…if he’s been compliant with the law.

  8. Phredone says:

    I think we can agree to disagree as to whether the private infromation would end up in the public realm. As to looking foolish that is just a point of view. See http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-boaz_16edi.ART.State.Edition1.460d440.html for someone else who believes that what Sen. Grassley is doing is wrong.

    So from your statement “Copeland is looking rather foolish by fighting a political battle…” you must believe this is not about improper use of funds, but some kind of political fight. If this is the case how is it ethical for Sen. Grassley pursue a political agenda by publicly accusing Churches of wrongdoing with no evidence before giving them a chance to answer the accusations? Since I believe that what the Church is doing is right don’t say that I am just accusing Sen. Grassley of wrongdoing to justify the Church doing the wrong thing.

    Explain to me how having the IRS audit Church and then Sen Grassley requesting from the IRS the results is a bad way to resolve this issue? Sen. Grassley will get all the financial information he seeks and Church will have the privacy that the law allows.

    PS thanks for reponding to my comments I always enjoy a good debate.

  9. What’s wrong with having the IRS do the audit? For one, he’s not being audited, he is having information requested from a Senator. You can’t change the scope of the investigation. Facts are – his ministry is being investigated. Copeland wants to change the fact to suit himself. He’s dealing with the government and in doing so one should just play ball…the outcome is much better that way.

    I personally don’t have the opinion that he’s done anything wrong. I just feel that he would be better served in the eyes of the government and the eyes of the public to be forthcoming with the information.

    Question – what do you think Billy Graham would do in a similar circumstance?

  10. Phredone says:

    Are we just parsing words? Is not an investigation in to ones finances an audit? I guess we also disagree about what information a Church should have to provide the government to comply with tax laws. It appears to me that Sen. Grassley is after more than just financial information. How do the names of anyone who has ever spoken at the Church have anything to do with the misuse of funds?

    It looks to me as if you are saying that it does not matter if Copeland is right in his stand or not what matters is how he looks. Of all people in the world I would expect a Preacher to stand up for what he believes and not give in so it doesn’t make him look bad. How is it ethical to submit to something you believe to be wrong? This is not saying that it is OK to going breaking the law just because you do not believe the law is right. That will end up with you in jail. What Iam saying is that until it is proven in court that what Sen. Grassley is doing is legal why submit?

    As to what do I think Billy Graham would do? I would hope that he would make a stand for what he believed was the right thing to do. I guess this whole issue boils down to what does the tax law actually say and in this day and age the only way to find out is to have a Judge make a ruling. Which even then can be appealled so if both sides stand their ground we may not know for years.

    Also a point I think that needs to be made is that Sen. Grassley is not investigating a person he is investigating a Church. This I think is very important because Churches fall under different laws than other non-profits. Like it or not Kenneth Copeland is under the covering of a Church.

  11. heyamatt says:

    Billy Graham doesn’t have to worry about being investigated because Grassley happens to agree with his doctrine.

    However, if Sen Grassley is allowed to do this sort of investigation and execute arbitrary judgement, then in the future when a Muslim senator is in office we may get to find out how other non-pentecostal ministries respond.

  12. Again, you miss the point. Billy Graham isn’t subject to the investigation not due to religious doctrine but due to the actions of the ministers in question and the complaints received. There are many prosperity doctrine ministers who have not had requests for information – TD Jakes for example.

    Graham would not be questioned because the use of his ministries monies isn’t spent in a flamboyant manner. That is the issue and that is why the Grassley and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is looking into the issues raised by the public.

    The more Copeland resists the more he seems to be hiding something. My only point is and has been – full and complete compliance removes any doubt about the ministries purpose and compliance with the tax law.

  13. heyamatt says:

    So basically… because Benny Hinn has given complete compliance, you now have no doubt that he isn’t hiding anything and is just as ethical as Billy Graham and TD Jakes?

    The complaints received were given to Grassley by Ole Anthony, Hank Hanagraff (accused of misuse of ministry funds himself a year ago), and other religious watch-dog groups who oppose the doctrine of these ministries. Do you honestly think they care about the tax laws? No, they hate the theology of these guys, to them the idea of “divine healing” is just as offensive as “prosperity.” The people who have sparked this investigation have devoted their whole careers to trying to convince others of there errors. Their message has not changed, they just happened to finally get a Senator who agrees with their doctrine.

    PS: I am sure TD Jakes is not that far off from being added to the investigation as soon as Grassley takes these guys out.

  14. No…I didn’t say that. The only thing Benny Hinn has done is take the white hot spotlight off himself as Copeland has chosen to stay illuminated by it.

    You see…I don’t think Grassley will take them out. I think that if it can be proven that they have violated the tax law, they will have negative financial repercussions, but beyond that – Grassley doesn’t have the juice to “take them out.”

    I have some knowledge of Jakes organization and while his is a prosperity minister and the foundation from which Eddie Long (New Birth) came from, Jakes is smart. He is very cautious when it comes to what is ministry (protected by the tax laws) and what is business. More than likely the reason he hasn’t been implicated is his wisdom in understanding the separation of business and ministry.

    My bet is Copeland does to. But, instead of being compliant, he is letting is ego speak. Ego and ministry don’t mix well. Copeland should submit. He will gain much more power that way.

    Funny, but as a Christian, I seem to recall that Christ when accused didn’t fight. He submitted and we are all the better for it. Perhaps Copeland should follow the Master’s example.

  15. Phredone says:

    Once again we are back to how things look. You say that the reason Jakes was not targeted is due to his keeping business and ministry separate. How do we know this other than by the way it looks to an outsider. How do we know that Copeland does not? We all know the best way to hide wrong doing is make things appear right. That would make Copeland the world’s most foolish man or innocent for making a stand.

    As for what Jesus did: He was on a specific mission from God the Father the required a sinless sacrifice. According to your example anytime a Christian is accused of something we should not defend ourselves and just accept whatever happens.

    How do you figure Copeland will gain power by submitting? If he submits and is found innocent of the charges it will be back page news if it is reported at all. Also most people will only remember that he was accused of wrongdoing (see the earlier post by heymatt refering to Hanagraff).

  16. I really find myself amazed at the confusion. I have enough direct knowledge of Jakes ministry to make the statement I made. It is not based on how things look, but rather on fact. As far as Copeland is concerned, I suspect he is in compliance as well. And, if he is he has no reason not to comply. Innocent is innocent.

    And yes, Jesus said if someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. Keep in mind, Copeland has not been accused of anything. He has had a request from a Senator and, again, if innocent, there will be no negative repercussions. No different than if you were audited by the IRS…if you’ve done nothing wrong then there is no reason to resist the audit.

    Copeland gains power by submitting because he shows the world that he his ministry is compliant with the law, clean in it’s application, and therefore above reproach. You gain power when you submit to a higher authority and are judged righteous. (I guess I spelled that right – can’t find a spell checker on the replies).

    What I’m amazed by is why there is so much resistance to a simple request. What is the difference between Joyce Meyer’s compliant response and Copeland’s defiant stand? The only thing that I can see if that Copeland looks foolish and guilty and Meyer looks like she has nothing to hide. Interesting that Meyer complied early on and has had no negative fall out.

    Hum…just a thought, perhaps Copeland wants the publicity and attention as it could bring more people to the fold. If that’s the case, then as a marketing person, I can at least understand a business reason. Although he’s playing with fire.

  17. heyamatt says:

    Actually, when charges were brought to the Roman governor Pilate, Jesus refused to answer even though doing so would have proved he was innocent. Matt 27:14…Mark 14:61…Isa 53:7.

    Copeland obviously feels the reason he is being targeted is because of his beliefs and does not want to participate because of this fact.

    You are right about Copeland is playing with fire, and I imagine he wouldn’t be taking the risk unless he really believes he is doing the right thing. Especially considering the fact that originally he was one of the first to respond.

  18. Phredone says:

    OK so you have direct knowledge of Jakes, does Sen Grassley? I think this all comes down to you thinking that this is a simple request and me believing that it has crossed the line on the slippery slope side. I base part of this belief on the fact that Sen. Grassley chose to start his investigation by bringing the media. Yes, Copeland is being accused of wrongdoing everytime Sen. Grassley speaks he questions specific actions of the Ministries. To me this is an accusation. As to negative fall out I have not seen any this issue barely makes the news anymore. I believe that no matter how this plays out it will have little or no effect on the beliefs of the average person. Obviously if Copeland is caught doing something that sends him to prison it would have an effect but short of that this will fade away and all that will be remembered is that he was accused.

    I guess my final statement is that I applaud Copeland for standing by what he believes. The tax laws are so convoluted and open to interpertation that until this comes before a judge each side can claim to be right. I find it very unfortunate that the Senator has chosen to play this out in the media. I believe that this could have been handled privately. I do find it interesting that no one who actually has a stake (ie: donors) in whether any funds have been misused has asked about the finances. I really don’t think that anybody who has a problem with Copelands percieved lifestyle actually gives money to the Church.

    Thanks for the comments I appreciate your beliefs I just think you are wrong.

  19. For purposes of discussion…wonder if there are other out there who believe that Copeland should comply. Frankly it makes for interesting discussion, but thus far most who have posted think that Copeland is right. Fair enough…but if there are others, feel free to comment.

  20. Phredone says:

    For clarity of discussion it needs to be made clear if you believe Copeland should comply do you mean: 1) He should comply reguardless of whether the tax law compels him to or not. 2) He should comply only if it proven that the tax law really does give Sen Grassley jurisdiction in this matter.

  21. Answer: Option #1 above.

    IF I’ve done nothing wrong, then there is ZERO harm in complying with questions from a Senator who has the “juice” to force compliance anyway. Keep in mind, as I understand it, Grassley is requesting data to determine if there is any justification in the allegations of wrong doing made by those who, perhaps, have an issue with the ministry philosophy (which I don’t).

    My guess is Joyce Meyer sees no negative repercussions from this in any way, other than the time and cost to reply. Copeland, Eddie Long and Creflo Dollar on the other hand are taking a dynamic and calculated risk. Some may think that Grassley doesn’t have the authority to make the request he made, but that’s a bit like Wesley Snipes arguing that there is no law to compel people to pay income taxes. The only thing that got him was a conviction for failure to file and sentencing set for this Thursday.

    Innocence is Copeland’s best defense and an innocent person has no issue with opening records to prove that.

  22. Phredone says:

    You are arguing apples and oranges. Wesley Snipes claim had already been proven false in a court of law. What Copeland is claiming has not been proven wrong in a court of law.

    I believe that in this country we are innocent until proven guilty so Copeland does not have to prove anything. It is apparent to me that Sen grassley has not been able to find any evidence of wrongdoing by any of the Churches or he would have sent the IRS or the Justice department after them already.

    The harm in complying would come from setting precedent for future fishing expeditions by the Senator. Back to the data, how do the names of all the people who preached or sang at a Church have anything to do with possible misuse of funds?

  23. First question to you…why do you resist the notion that Copeland should give the data that other ministers have seen the wisdom in doing?

    So you’re saying that one has to be indicted or have data subpoenaed in order to comply. You say that you are innocent until proven guilty. I agree. But in order to be proven guilty you have to provide data that you either are or are not. Grassley has the power and authority as a US Senator to subpoena what he wants. He has asked and by now most have given. So I go back to the question, what is Copeland’s resistance. IF he is innocent, then cooperating proves to be harmless.

    Let’s say you’re audited by the IRS. They request data from you. Would you comply? There is no difference in the Senator asking for the same data. It’s the same process. Instead of being audited by the IRS he’s being audited (so to speak) by the Senate Finance Committee. Same concept different branch of the government.

    The precedent has been set year ago. This isn’t the first time a Senator or Senate Committee has requested data and it won’t be the last. Seems to me that Senator Sam J. Ervin from NC asked for a lot of data from someone much more powerful than Copeland. Richard Nixon. Nixon resisted and in the end – well you know that story.

    To your question – “how do the names of all the people who preached or sang at a Church have anything to do with possible misuse of funds?” Answer: IF it is shown that preachers, singers or major contributors are also in business (I use that term loosely) then the issue might be raised about the separation of the ministry funds from business enterprises. That is where I feel T.D. Jakes is properly focused the difference between the two and hence has avoided the inquisition.

    Why do you suppose that Joyce Meyer complied and Copeland didn’t?

    In a release from Kenneth Copeland Ministries the following appeared:

    The Church has serious concerns that, without the protections from public disclosure that section 6103 affords, the information obtained by Senator Grassley could potentially be used in a manner that could harm or embarrass the Church, its preachers, members, partners, and friends. The six ministries under investigation all share a common theology that is centuries old. The “Word of Faith” message preached by these churches is based on the religious belief that God wants His children to be spiritually, physically, and financially blessed. Prosperity in all areas of one’s life is an outward sign of the fulfillment of God’s promises contained in the Bible.

    Thus far, from those who have complied, there is no basis to have such a concern. The resistance from Copeland, while perhaps well intentioned, is just a cat and mouse game that is playing with fire. It still is very simple – nothing to hide – nothing to loose.

    Or to quote another deceased lawyer – “If you did not lie, then why not comply?”

  24. heyamatt says:

    Just because you’ve done nothing wrong doesn’t mean there is ZERO harm in complying.

    By going the IRS route, the rules are already in place and Copeland has obviously been playing by them. The problem with sending stuff directly to Grassley is the rules can become a bit more arbitrary.

    Grassley is setting a dangerous precedent that could lead to major abuses by senators in the future.

  25. My friends, I do not argue that abuse of power could exist. I am an ethics speaker. I observe behavior and evaluate whether behavior generally falls in the realm of what most would consider ethical behavior. In this case, both Grassley and Copeland have much at stake. Grassley can’t afford to lose his power and position as a Senator over church doctrine. Likewise, Copeland can’t afford to lose his tax exempt status. In the fight between the two – Copeland has less power. Grassley could play Copeland’s game by going through the IRS, but has elected not to do so. Others have complied so the precedent has been set. The only thing now is that Copeland is taking a stand that will prove what?

    In the end, Grassley will get what he wants and those who made it hard will find the power of the government hard to fight (and win).

    For those who would ask, why I care? To me it’s interesting to watch human behavior. Why people do what they do and what the underlying motive is behind their actions. Copeland has touched many people. Most would claim they were touched in a positive manner and others would disagree.

    There is a dramatic difference between ministry and prosperity business. Billy Graham is very prosperous as is his ministry. Jim and Tammy Baker, likewise, had prosperity, but their motives were misguided. I guess Grassley is looking to see if laws are complied with so that those who live a flamboyant lifestyle in the ministry aren’t just another Jim and Tammy.

    And before I am accused of saying that I’ve compared Kenneth and Gloria to Jim and Tammy…I am not. I suspect they are worlds apart.

  26. acdec0708 says:

    It is extremely troubling to me that this country and its finances are in such an extreme cataclysmic state, with gas prices at record highs and soaring, foreclosures at an all-time high, an ongoing war – now in its sixth year, with no end in sight., unemployment at record highs.. the list goes on and on… and yet here are members of the United States Senate -as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on FINANCE, fixating on and targeting Ministries (those that teach a doctrine other than that of their own belief). Mind you, this a belief that provides people with a hope at such a time as this! I say “targeting” because it is very clear to me that this is a personal issue with Grassley, otherwise why would he feel a need to begin this inquiry with the involvement of the media? We all know that the media is capable of making even the most innocent appear as perpetrators!

    Nevertheless, in my observance of the letter from Sen. Grassley he clearly states, “…it is our duty under the Constitution to conduct oversight into matters related to legislation enacted by Congress. The purpose of oversight is to determine how well a particular AGENCY of the executive branch is administering legislation enacted by Congress, if a particular law or section of the law is being administered in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress and what changes might be required to a law to improve and enhance it…” As such, it seems to me that this “oversight” should be conducted with the IRS Agency itself.

    I am quite certain that if there was not a man, such as Kenneth Copeland, courageous enough to take a stand against such an intrusion on Ministries, that it would only be a matter of time before there is no longer any type of protection provided to any organization in this country, or individual for that matter, in spite of the proper legal structure in place. I mean, c’mon, the ministries didn’t set up the structure of the IRS Agency, nor the laws of nonprofit organizations, the government did, but now, they want to just dismiss or ignore their own implicated laws and system, which govern audits/inquiries in order to serve their own personal agenda regarding certain ministries. I believe we all better wake up and recognize the importance of fighting certain battles in order to hold on to what few protections we are given!

  27. Phredone says:

    To answer your question: Why do I resist the notion that Copeland should comply?
    1. Just because others do something does not make it the right thing to do.
    2. No one has proven to me that Sen. Grassley has the legal right to have access to the requested information.
    3. If Copeland and his lawyers think he is right that Sen. Grassley is wrong in his interpertation of the tax law, why should Copeland compromise his beliefs just to avoid looking bad?
    4. If Copeland is right but does comply to avoid looking bad it will help open the door for further abuse of power by Sen. Grassley.

    Next question I would comply with a request from the IRS because they are the agency that has been given authority over this area. Copeland has not only said he would supply the data to the IRS he has asked them to conduct and audit.

    As to Richard Nixon he was not only not a Church (right or wrong different rules apply) he was a public official.

    Joyce Meyer apparently does not hold the same beliefs as Kenneth Copeland in this matter which does not mean anything in reguards to Copeland being right or wrong in his belief.

  28. harry.truman says:

    What an interesting discussion. And I can see both sides; you are most eloquent. There is only one thing I would note: Your comment about if one is innocent, it’s safe to talk. But there were a lot of people in the 50′s who would probably disagree; Senator McCarthy abused his power and ran roughshod, destroying people’s lives and making everyone (EVERYONE) afraid to stand up for themselves. That just shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

  29. Two comments:

    1. Cute name – Harry Truman. I can honestly say that the McCarthy argument is one of the best I’ve seen on this board. While, in my opinion, Grassley is no McCarthy, I can understand that argument for over reaching of Senatorial power.

    2. However, to be fair, Senators do have the right to conduct hearings and/or request information without having to go through a government agency that their committee oversees.

    While I respect those who have a differing opinion and can see their point, I think that Copeland has done himself a dis-service by making it religious instead of approaching it as a secular abuse of power. When he stated that (my characterization of his words) God would fight the battle, he drew the battle lines and made it emotional instead of allowing for the claim to be abuse of power, which more people would rally behind.

    Like it or not, more times than not, when the rally cry is God – you can bet there is an agenda behind it. It reminds me of the YouTube video where this lady claims that Oprah is creating a cult against Christianity. If you watch it to the end…she’s trying to sell a book. So when Copeland decries that God will fight the battle – my first question is what is he trying to hide or sell?

  30. There’s another Copeland Ministries post on the site…newly posted that you might want to review.

    Chuck

  31. Joh says:

    Chuck you have “hit the nail on the head” quite literally and in doing so you seem to have all the Copeland fans in an uproar..personally i believe that Copeland is indeed hiding something quite significant regarding his business ventures and use of “church” money(tax free) and is using this IRS tactic merely as a diversion to stall for more time to try and cover the wrongdoings
    but once again that is only my opinion based on what i have found from various investigations of Kenneth online and from what ive seen.
    The truth ultimately will come out i guess.. but in the meantime there is one thing that the Copelands are in breach of and that is being in contempt of Senate,which in itself carries a minimum prison sentence of 1 year and a fine.

  32. Look up at the box marked recent posts and click on the one: Kenneth Copeland would rather have a tax audit? Why?

    As you read, you’ll see how silly his argument is especially considering he has already set the precedent that the ministry previously provided information to the Senate Finance Committee back in 2000.

    Now, in the name of protecting religious freedom, they would prefer not to answer the questions asked and rather have a “tax audit”. Either way, refusal to comply and fully answer the questions is playing with fire. Where there is strong resistance to accountability, there is usually something hidden.

    There’s an old gospel song – “Run On” that has a line stating: what you do in the dark will be brought to the light.

    Copeland, can either shine the light on himself and comply which proves he is compliant with the law or he can keep his actions hidden – for a time – but in the end, it will be brought to the light.

    Check out the other posting however…more insight there.

  33. Rick Hy says:

    If people can not see the implications of this type of thinking it is only because they do not want to. To Christians who differ slightly in theology; get ready your’re next. When given the size and responsibilties of these ministries I wonder what their counterparts in the secular world make. Many prosperity preachers have preached for nothing and given much more as percentage of their income than any of their critics. Where are the complaints from those who have given the money? God will judge hearts ultimately and I myself think that their are false prophets who exploit for money but am sure that this is on many income levels and professions. I think plumbers make to much money and lawyers and doctors and everybody but me. Of course I am being sarcastic. I am sure that the only thing that will make some people happy is a return to the vows of poverty that only the clergy had to live by. God will judge us all for how we handled our resources, not just preachers.

  34. Tricia says:

    I believe the Copelands are submitting to the appropriate authorities ie., the IRS. If Kenneth Copeland, or any of the other ministries under investigation, decided to give all of the ministries information out, it would be open for any type of loose interpretation that the media decided to shade it with. Let’s be honest, the vast majority of mainstream media are against the church, especially the message of prosperity.

    The world applauds and celebrates the wealth of Oprah Winphrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, but if a Christian leader should prosper and live in a beautiful home, drive high-end cars, they are in question of integrity. I have to wonder if it has ever occurred to those cheering on this investigation like vultures, that perhaps living a godly life has reward? Look at Abraham, Job, Solomon, David … they were all men that had a heart after God, and He prospered them. “The blessing of the Lord maketh RICH with no sorrow is added to it.” Prosperity is a reward, or biproduct as it were, to following after God. He prospers His children, spirit, soul, body, finances, and relationships. It’s that simple.

    In effect, if these ministries HAVE, in fact, handled their funds properly, it would be open game for the media harming innocent ministries that took years to build. Why shouldn’t these ministries be open for investigation via the laws of the IRS? If anyone knows how to scrutinize, it is that branch of the government.

    I have been a partner with Kenneth Copeland Ministries for the past 27 years. This ministry has been an enormous blessing to me and my family. I completely agree with his handling of the situation. I believe they should be given the same respect as any other US citizen. I know that the light of their integrity will go before them.

  35. Joh says:

    Tricia im curious?? does the Koolaid taste bitter??

  36. Rick Hy says:

    Joh, I assume the your comment to be a vailed reference to Jim Jones. It seems you would be happy if all believing cristians would be audited. Usually if you believe in something it can be reflected by your giving. Just curious about yours since we are getting personal. This kind of thinking is exactly why “special comittee “investigations have no place affored to them in this instance under law. Simply a 21st century witch hunt. Martin Niemoller said ,” they came for the communist and I said nothing because I wasn’t a communist, they came for the socialist and I said nothing because I wasn’t a socilaist, they came for the trade unionist and I said nothing because I wasn’t a trade unionist, they came for the Jews and I said nothing because I wasn’t a Jew, and finally they came for me and there was no one left to say anything”. The life you save may be your own.

  37. Rick Hy says:

    Side note to above statement: I am ot a finacial supporter of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. I do believe in their right to operate under IRS laws for a 501c3.

  38. michele says:

    Copeland is right that the IRS should be the ones conducting the investigation. That is what the agency was created to do, and he is willing to cooperate with them. I think the implications for the future if the Senator is given this kind of authority is what is scary. What could be next? Here is an interesting new read…
    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/60222

  39. Joh says:

    You all seem to miss the point here… this is not a witch hunt against Christians.. by his own doctrines i doubt Kenneth Copeland could be called a Christian to begin with… his messages are some weird concoction of Mormonism with a bit of Christianity and some other weird things thrown in together… but the point is…. Senator Grassley is NOT investigating Copeland on his Doctrines!!!! more so on the FACT that he is looking into reports that these particular 6 “ministries” are abusing their tax free status to make financial profits from it(which is quite withing the laws and rights of the senate financial committee to do as they oversee not for profit organizations.. if Kenneth and company have nothing to hide then why all this stonewalling and avoidance???
    The truth will ultimately be revealed and this will lead to disillusioned Christians who have believed in the teachings of charlatans like Kenneth Copeland and his cohorts .

  40. jerome says:

    my biggest problem with these ministries is lack of accountability to anyone else. the board of directors are not independent and they are hand picked by the pastor himself/herself. the pastor does what he likes.

  41. Joh says:

    yes good point Jerome…it reeks of a con job when such is the case

  42. Joh says:

    Oh and not just in Copelands ministry .. Copeland is involved in nearly all of the 6 ministries in some way either on their board or having some controlling interest…Creflo Dollar in particular is one of Copelands Biggest protégées

  43. nic says:

    First off, I am concerned about the Senator going to the media with this. Why make this into a huge media affair? it doesn’t make sense to me.

    Second, his letter states that he is actually investigating to see if the IRS is doing its job. And wants the info to check against the IRS records for the ministries. But, when he contacted the media, he made it out to be about the ministries and not the IRS… strange.

    Third, I am concerned about the whole issue of conflicting denominations and animosity between the two. Why is it that the whole airplane/jet thing threw the senator into a tizzy? That doesn’t make much sense either. Is he investigating the ministries or the IRS? Is he looking for wrongdoing on the part of the ministries based on accusations made lately or is he looking to see if the IRS failed to catch these things? and most of all… WHY did he bring the media into it from the outset?

  44. Joh says:

    A visit to the good senators website will divulge all i think Nic… Sen Grassley releases Media Statements on all his investigations…and im sure Most of the Top Media Outlets would peruse such statements as part of their investigative reporting duties..As for Senator Grassley “singling out” any one particular Doctrine?? well as has been stated over and over and over this is NOT about Doctrine it is about applicable laws pertaining to Tax Free Status.
    And on your point about Senator Grassley overseeing the IRS? YES thats is his appointed duty do do just that and once again the Media Statements would be freely available through Senator Grassleys website as per Freedom of information.
    Hope this might clear up some missunderstandings?? :D

  45. perry says:

    See http://www.southernappeal.org/index.php/archives/2613 which reports a letter recently sent to the finance committee from some 25 entirely non-related groups with the same privacy concern. Why would this group, so diverse from Copeland, et al, go to the trouble to step forward and take up this issue? They see something many won’t see. There is a genuine issue here. Freedoms once lost are very difficult to regain.

    No fallout to Joyce Meyer>?? Perhaps you have not heard of the five figure “toilet seat” which turns out to be a commode table, and the five figure conference table being bandied about. The senator has stated that he intends to publish what he gets since “the public has a right to know,” and whose first communication on this began with a media press conference, not any communication with the targets directly. Many first found out they were being investigated by the media calling them for a response to the press conference. Would that be okay with you?

    Government in America can be addressed by still-free Americans. It is our government and we can cry “foul,” as these ministry groups mentioned above are doing. That is a different thing altogether from non-compliance and rebellion. There are numerous examples in our history where government branches and agencies have abused power and have subsequently been corrected, but not until someone takes it up.

  46. keith says:

    Hope again, Joh. You tumble about mixing and switching, actually leaving much confusion in your wake.

    Nic’s points are well taken. One of the parties investigated said the first contact they received was the press calling for a reaction to the press conference Mr. Grassley held on the matter. What is up with that? He said it was like someone setting your yard on fire and when you run out to say, hey, what’s this all about? And they say, I just want to ask you some questions. Well, why don’t you just come knock on the door??

    Play ball with the government? It’s low ball, they’re playing, sir. And it’s a game alright, and it sets a bad precedent if unchecked. I looked at the site given above and was encouraged that someone else is speaking up. Do you have any idea how different that group is from the group under investigation? But they see the same thing. You don’t mind them coming after Ken Copeland or Benny Hinn, but they can come after you, once the walls are down. Haven’t you noticed them hauling in sports figures and the like lately? Meanwhile, who’s minding the store? We have some very large issues on the table in this country.

    I don’t want my congressman or senator into every game in town, and when they do an investigation, I want it done professionally, ethically, confidentially and efficiently. I want my rights protected, so I am interested when I see someone else’s being trampled. And I don’t want a senator or a senate committee using the press to get at me or anybody else.

    If they have a case, then make the case, using all this juicy information they claim to have. Don’t play a political game using the media as the whipping boy. What other reason to do that than to put pressure on these groups they’re all in a wad over. The “fact finder” in this case doesn’t run clear himself, this Trinity Foundation guy. He has given bad evidence before if you’ll read up on him in the Dallas news sites. Watchdog? Yeah, like a wolf sent to guard the hen house.

    Remember the McCarthy hearings or the accounts of them? Remember the IRS during the Clinton years? They ran wild, going after and ruining some people. Ironically, it was Senator Grassley who helped enact reform in the IRS. So, who’s the bully now? No, it is too fishy. Nobody has to roll over and play dead when THEIR government gets out of joint. Remember government by the people, for the people. They are out of bounds. Once they get away with that kind of thing, it only gives them ground that’s even more difficult to take back. The senator is wrong this time. Not about doctrine? I don’t trust anything he says because his actions are so loud the other way. Do it right, get on with it and then do what’s right with what is really there. Don’t play with it, gossiping across the back fence to the biggest mouths in town. That’s being ungoverned.

    Oh yes, the jets being the proverbial straw. I am sorry your denomination does not have a global ministry, that the calls for their ministers do not require such, but many of these ministers do and it can’t be done on the airlines. That’s one of the problems with this. The nominal folks and un-religious cannot fathom that a preacher of the Gospel could actually be in the demand that these people are. Well, they are and their God and the people of God have provided the jets. And your nosy nose will find it is in order. Sorry about the slow lane traffic around your place. This is the 21st century and to get across the globe as many times as is required by these meeting schedules, it takes the latest technology. So, just get back on your donkey and lope off.

  47. nab says:

    Appreciate the forum here, the recent contributions. the thought out responses pro and con thruout are helpful in forming opinion, the debate. Don’t appreciate the trite and uninformed snippets peppered in. The idiot grin at the end goes with the content. it should be on all such: easier to identify to skip over.

  48. Marcus says:

    This is one of the best posts on the web on this subject, almost entirely authentic in tone throughout the comments. One can’t help noticing a plant (niggling pettily without symptom of conviction or substance). But I can’t help taking the other view, Mr. Gallagher – and I thank you for the opportunity you have presented here.

    When the dust clears after the shock of it all, the initial gut feeling pervades. Something is wrong with the senator calling a press conference before he sent the first letter (and I hear KCM received it by fax (?)). He started with the media and then got around to them. The rights issue that KC and others are raising stems from that handling. He is handling them instead of relating to them. It seems to indicate his mind made up and strategy worked out. There is no approach to them. They seem to have been advised offhand after his big event of the press conference. That seemed to accomplish what he had in mind – putting them off balance and holding them up to discredit before they knew anything about it. There is a muscling in that. Start first by bringing public opinion down on them before they can get footing.

    Innocent people can be outraged at being treated like crooks. That is the rub. It’s the strong arm tactic that so offends and was so inappropriate. I disagree that objecting to that and some of the privacy violating requests makes one look guilty automatically, when you realize the sequence of notice. I don’t understand why anyone cannot see the outrage in the action. If the local sheriff or police wanted to question everyone that was in a certain place at a certain time in order to get at the facts, wouldn’t you think they should come up to your house or call you to come in and talk with them. But what if instead, they made an announcement on the radio that so and so and so and so were to be questioned concerning this event. Then they called your house or came around. Put yourself in that place. It is obvious that something is wrong with that. I like that comment above about setting the yard on fire. Innocent people show healthy outrage at presumption of guilt, of highhanded treatment behind their back, of taking up the matter in public (a press conference ???!?) before giving them the first chance at it much less the first notice! No one likes to be handled – especially innocent people.

    The senator disappoints in using tactics. I think it cheapens his office. I understand he is a “good man,” but is making a mistake quite costly to vital issues. I think he has sown to the wind … and shouldn’t be surprised at a whirlwind. That letter from the site above – the other non-profit ministries – they see it! Like some have said on this board, they can come after you next. It’s a precedent – dangerous precedent. Erosion unchecked just continues. Look, they kicked the church out of the marketplace, the schools, the courthouse square. We let them do all that. Now, they’re trying to get in our churches! Huh? I don’t think so – and THAT, Mr. Gallagher, sir, is where Mr. Copeland, et al are coming from. Investigate – fine – but don’t come in with your bulldozer while holding the mike in another direction … Thank you for your site.

  49. mark says:

    I do agree some insight needs done but your focus in this article is only about the 3 that are not answering and if you are going to quote the bible, you should be fair and mention that Joyce Myers went over the call of duty in her disclosure and that most of the Mega Churches ( i.e John Hagee, Billy Graham, Jessie Duplantis) all do by the Law and yet as a Motivational Speaker you dwell on the negative?

  50. Mark…as a business ethics speaker I dwell on what seems a miss.

    Here there are two things that seem a miss to me and cause me to have some concern about the ethics involved:

    (1) Grassley has used the media to push his point when it would seem that first the players should have been told quietly what was requested. Grandstanding – I think it is called and one wonders why?

    (2) Copeland displays the illusion that he is standing on principle, when I believe that he is refusing to cooperate because he has something to hide. The truth will set you free. So if he was squeaky clean – then cooperation would prove that and expose Grassley’s motive – if anything other than what was publically said.

    As a motivational speaker – I share with audiences that every choice has a consequence. You do reap what you sow. So the question to Copeland is – why not comply? For sure both Grassley and Copeland will experience the consequences of their respective choices.

    For information on my presentations visit: http://www.chuckgallagher.com

    Thanks for posting on the blog…I appreciate your comments.

  51. perry says:

    Not being obliged to respond to all, but there are four posts previous to Mark’s. Thnx

  52. Joh says:

    This is actually getting quite stale…Copeland and his cohorts are not what they pretend to be and that is as obvious as the nose on your face to anyone with a minute portion of brain… brainwashing is such a powerfull tool when used correctly

  53. marlin says:

    Given that financial information should be readily provided and I understand much has in this case, by reading what’s been put on his site. But your number (2) –

    (2) That principle he is standing on is being shared by onlookers in other areas of ministry who have been sending letters to the committee voicing concerns.

    Every choice has a consequence. It seems the choice to go along with the overstep involved in this would be the easier road — with the harder consequence ahead. The choice not to give in to the out-of-bounds areas in this is the harder one with the only acceptable consequence.

    The truth will set you free text has some foreground – like continuing in the word and being his disciples. The word has some other things to say as well. Like a wise man seeing the danger and hiding himself, a fool going on and being snared. Giving the senator private information he has no business in would not set free. We’re already free in that respect. Allowing him to throw a rope around that information would curtail freedoms already in place.

  54. bwt says:

    Why anyone argue that these people should not comply with the requests of the Committee is insane. All of these people have been given a pass for a long time. They have gotten away with a great deal. There is a pattern with specifically AG/Charismatic preacher, televangelists. This is nothing new.

    Paul Crouch paid a man 450k to keep quiet about having sex with him, not much reported.

  55. Just received this e-mail and thought I would post:

    It is very interesting to read comments regarding the Copelands -
    especially from those who have never actually worked for them. As a former
    employee, one really would have to have worked for the ministry and see
    what happens in reality and not with the “spin” added to understand
    the validity of Sen. Grassley”s inquiry. The ministry does have a lot
    to hide.

    Hum?

  56. Monday already? says:

    There is still no evidence of wrong doing by any of these organizations. Grassley has employees that are questioning his behavior as well. I think that he is out of control and never needs to have the kind of power it would take to get access to such information.

  57. 4 truth says:

    Mr. Copelands major defense to not comply is a supposed protection of his “partners” and donors. The actual inquiry letter NEVER asked him to give them that information at all. The only requests in this manner were for other churches or ministries, not those in his church or other private individuals. Those other churches also are provided 501 status, this is an important distinction.

  58. Tom says:

    I agree with gallagher.

    Copleland is not setting a Godly Example and He was chosen and appointed by God to be an example to the Flock.

    God raised Him up, he did not raise himself to his present place of influence.

    Be it money or sexual innuendo or wrong doctrine or pride all spiritual leaders are and will pay a high price for error and be highly rewarded for obedience.

    Copeland is acting more like a business man in a successful organization of this world than a true child of God.

    His statements are filled with arrogance and haughtyness and he even brings his Savior into the conflict “as though God will finish the score” that which he (Kenneth Copeland) cannot do himself.

    This is just one of many pictures of American Pride inundating our entire society – And of course PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL.

    Kenneth Copeland like King David needs to repent – If for nothing else – for his own self defense of his (versus what was once God’s Ministry) arrogant statements and help to tear down the Pride that has so infused it self into the fabric of our Once Christian and Christ Like Nation.

    Tom Heward

  59. long time says:

    This investigation has been going on for way too long. Being an observer from the sidelines with no commitment to any of those involved, I think that Grassley’s motives are to be questioned. His errors in handling this affair have cost him. It’s time for him to give it up and move on. Copeland is going to fight this to the end, as he should. The outcome certainly will affect more than just church organizations.

  60. four4seasons says:

    One of the problems with religious folks like Senator Grassley and others is that there is so much difference in impact and empowerment. You could be empowered with the Holy Spirit and vastly increase your spiriutal productivity as well. Instead, there is backbiting. Instead of participating, many choose to stand back and throw rocks. Some of these ministires accomplish more in one year than some denominations have done in in their history of existence. There are poles apart in these groups.

    Those with no understanding of the anointing confuse boldness with arrogance. They are accumstomed to doing business as usual according to their ideas and plans and the way they have always thought and done things. What God is able to do through men and women who are yielded to him staggers those who live primarily in the natural with only a small squirt here and there of divine manifestation. They consider others different from them, who don’t settle in like them to be wildcat heretics.

    That’s a large part of the problem, including with Sen. Grassley. Religion is just so allergic to relationship, to the anointing. It’s all considered to be snake oil. And when they hear of these ministers being in close association, they see a conspiracy and complicated intrigue at work. It seems so to a mindset accustomed to infighting and splits on a regular basis, shuffling ministers around rote and random, doing things their way.

  61. Graham Kelly says:

    Copeland doesn’t have to answer to the state. Rather, it should be the other way around. The state has no jurisdiction over the operation of any bonefide church. In any case, Copeland’s ministry (and others like his) do a whole lot more POSITIVE GOOD for people, than does the US government. The US government has proven that they are NEGATIVELY BAD, with their WARS, dodgy bailouts, & cronyism. A child could judge this correctly.

  62. Graham Kelly above makes an honest mistake in his assessment. KCM does in fact have to answer to the state.

    KCM is incorporated in the state of Texas, and they had to sign documents to do so that clearly stated that they would abide by the laws of the State of Texas. Further, KCM had to then apply to the federal IRS for 501(c)3 non-profit status, in which they again promised to abide by Federal tax law. The U.S. Congress has jurisdiction over the IRS, and Senator Grassley’s office surely has a right to inquire as to whether any laws are being violated.

    As a minister, I agree wholeheartedly with Chuck’s assessment of this situation as he describes in this blog post. I have added even more detail about the Sen. Grassley investigation on my own post about this topic: http://kennethcopelandblog.com/2008/11/10/senator-grassleys-honorable-crusade/

    Let me point out here openly, however, that I actually KNOW Kenneth Copeland, and was formerly a “ministry insider” at KCM. Thus, that entire blog is dedicated to revealing what I know firsthand regarding their sins in a very public rebuke similar to that which Paul did towards Peter as recorded in Galatians 2.

    So I fully support Chuck’s position in this matter and will even link back to this page from my own blog.

  63. bloonsterific says:

    Just wanted to tell you all know how much I appreciate your postings guys.
    Found you though google!

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