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Senator Grassley Investigates Televangelists-Is it Legal?

December 17, 2007

On November 5, Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, wrote a letter to six media-based ministries for information regarding expenses, executive compensation, amenities given to executives, and board governance. The inquiry is part of Grassley's long-standing interest in making sure tax-exempt organizations are accountable to donors and to the taxpayers as a whole.

Grassley gave Kenneth Copeland Ministries, World Changers Church International lead by Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn Ministries, Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and Paula and Randy White and their Without Walls International Church thirty days to provide the Committee with a long list of financial information. Thus far, only Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer have complied, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The letter sent by Grassley mentioned complaints by news media about the ministries' opulent lifestyles. Grassley has taken it upon himself to do the job of the IRS. Because Grassley has investigated other non-profits, he believes he has a right to investigate any, but does he or the Committee have such a right? The short answer is Yes. According to the IRS, anyone can request a copy of the annual return of any non-profit organization's and expect it within 30 days. The longer answer is No. Senator Grassley does not have the right to investigate these ministries for two reasons:

(1) As demonstrated in a recent Christian Post article, the IRS already audits these ministries for compliance with tax laws. Ministries are required to submit an annual financial return. The IRS allows ministries keep their exempt status as long as they comply with the law. Moreover, the IRS is already investigating and correcting abuses such as excessive executive compensation, supporting organization issues, and other issues making Grassley's investigation redundant and unnecessary.

(2) An even more important reason why Grassley has no genuine authority to investigate those six ministries is the proven fact that the 16th amendment to the Constitution was never ratified. It has been researched and proven that three-fourth of the states did not ratify it. Some authors claim conspiracy theorists argue it was not ratified because of grammatical discrepancies of state and federal texts of the amendment. According to a World Net Daily article, the primary reason is sound evidence showing that 15 states never ratified it, 5 states violated procedural rules, and only 3 consisted of grammatical discrepancies. The amendment required 36 ratifying states for it to pass; there were only 33 at best. Therefore, the current tax law the six ministries may be breaking is itself illegal. The existence of the IRS is also illegal. What is really heinous is that lawmakers know it was never ratified. I suspect Grassley and the Finance Committee do as well.

A work every American should read is "The Law That Never Was" by Bill Benson, a former Criminal Investigator for the Illinois Department of Revenue. The above facts are published in his book.

Another important source of information about the illegality of the 16th Amendment and legal work against its continuance can be found at We the People Congress. They have initiated a case seeking redress of grievances concerning the government's income tax fraud and other issues that is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court. (Feel free to sign the petition at We the People website).

The real tax fraud perpetrated in America is by the federal government not wealthy ministries. Grassley investigation is just one more act of lawmakers' long history of violations against the Constitution. If Americans fail to join in the struggle against their violation of the Constitution, the warnings of judges like Andrew Napolitano, Robert Bork, and Robert Dierker will become the final reality; Americans will have no rights.

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Copyright ©2007 Daniel Downs