Matthews, N.C.–On Saturday, April 12, Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) issued a statement criticizing Sen. Charles Grassley’s investigation into the finances of six televangelists. Copeland said Grassley had no constitutional basis for many of the 42 requests he originally made last November.
Copeland’s statement also said he “would be willing to fully cooperate with the IRS to ensure that the requested information is provided in a timely and efficient manner.”
However, Rusty Leonard, the founder and president of MinistryWatch.com, said the response from Copeland was “deceptive and misleading.”
According to Leonard, “Copeland is trying to create the impression that he is being cooperative, when in fact he failed to comply with 25 of the 42 requests for information from Sen. Grassley. Now, he wants the IRS to continue the investigation, but only because IRS investigations are confidential. Copeland doesn’t want the public or his donors to see what he’s been doing, and that’s alarming. It screams that he his hiding something from KCM donors and the public.”
Leonard said that Copeland was clever by asking for the IRS to intervene, because it is his best chance to hold Grassley and the media at bay. “For many years the IRS has been under-resourced when it comes to this kind of investigation,” Leonard said. “An IRS investigation could take years, will be completely out of the public eye, and may result in nothing more than fines for KCM. Copeland has made a business decision that it’s far better for him to deal with the IRS in secret than to face Sen. Grassley or ’60 Minutes’ in public. One can only wonder what he might be trying to hide from his donors.”
Copeland should “come clean,” Leonard said, and fully disclose all requested information to both Grassley, to the donors to KCM, and to the public. “The idea that Copeland is standing on some constitutional principle is simply a diversion,” Leonard said.
Leonard added: “Copeland’s complaint about Sen. Grassley’s right to ask for this information is nothing more than a sideshow. KCM donors themselves have every right to ask for this information and Copeland has a moral obligation, that overrides any constitutional issue, to provide it. Donors are fortunate that Grassley is using his position to act on their behalf. We would have no problem with Copeland not giving the information to Sen. Grassley as long as he made the information public. Hiding behind the veil of the IRS, however, is unacceptable.”
“Grassley is not the issue, it is the lack of accountability and transparency at KCM,” Leonard said.
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