Posted Dec. 7, 2007 - Televangelist Creflo Dollar, who, under pressure from a leading U.S. senator, acknowledged that his Atlanta-based mega-church raked in a cool $69 million last year, is refusing to submit to any more congressional inquiries into his church’s finances without a subpoena from the IRS.
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Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., is one of six TV preachers who were asked by Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, to submit full financial documents, showing salaries, luxury purchases, and even gifts to other preachers and the individuals who comprise their boards.
The churches, whose pastors preach that God wants Christians to be wealthy, include Bishop Eddie Long, the only other African-American being probed and the leader of a huge church and ministry in Lithonia, Ga.; Joyce Meyers Ministries of Fenton, Mo.; Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla.; Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas; and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas.
At first, Long agreed to “fully comply” with Grassley’s request. He now says that the investigation is “unjust,” “intrusive” and “an attack on our religious freedom and privacy rights.”
Grassley said his inquiry was triggered by complaints from various people who complained that many of the ministers were on spending sprees, buying everything from Rolls-Royces, colossal mansions and private jets to tailor-made suits and extravagant trips.
But Dollar says he questions whether Grassley’s request is even legal.\
Dollar’s attorney, Marcus Owens, is demanding that the Republican senator from Iowa seek a proper” request for information — one handled by the IRS.
“A referral would permit Senator Grassley and the Senate Finance Committee to discharge their obligation to oversee federal tax administration without running the risk of government entanglement in the Church’s religious beliefs and practices,” the letter said.
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