A group of 13 Ohio clergy is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of a Washington boarding house used by conservative members of Congress.
The C Street Center, a redbrick townhouse on Capitol Hill, came to public attention last summer when use of the building was tied to several Republican politicians who had admitted to extramarital affairs.
In letters sent on successive days, the Internal Revenue Service said it concluded that neither the United Church of Christ, whose national convention heard Barack Obama speak, nor a Southern Baptist pastor, who publicly backed Mike Huckabee, violated tax-exemption provisions prohibiting political endorsements by churches.
The United Church of Christ has retained a former U.S. solicitor general to represent the church during an Internal Revenue Service investigation of its political activities. Seth P. Waxman, who represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court from 1997 to 2001, will lead a team of attorneys working on behalf of the 1.2-million-member denomination, according to the UCC.
The Internal Revenue Service has notified the United Church of Christ that it has opened an investigation into possible “political activities” connected with Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the denomination’s national convention last year.
Wiley S. Drake, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California, who was notified last month by the IRS that it was investigating his endorsements of Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, has again urged his followers to pray that heavenly wrath should befall Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Representatives of five of the six ministries under investigation by Senator Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) made contact with Grassley’s office by the proposed December 6 deadline, but reportedly only two organizations—those of Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer—provided the financial information requested. Spokespersons for Benny Hinn asked for more time.
Wearing white vestments and later donning colored silk stoles, 12 women were ordained July 31 as deacons and priests aboard a riverboat in Pittsburgh by a group claiming that such rites are valid Roman Catholic ordinations.
In an ongoing investigation of 2004 partisan politicking by churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the Internal Revenue Service said that it found violations in 59 of 82 cases as of last month.