Good Morning

  • Article by: Scott Gillespie
  • Updated: November 19, 2008 - 1:54 PM

The Senate recount is underway, Mike Tice wants to be a head coach in the National Football League (Good luck with that, big fella.), and the Dow is down more than 170 points in early trading. Those were some of the topics kicking around 425 Portland this morning. But the one piece of news that really grabbed our attention was the Internal Revenue Service/Mac Hammond dispute. The IRS wants Hammond's Living World Christian Center to release information on the jet the church bought for Hammond and some details on his compensation. Seems like Hammond won round one. A U.S. district magistrate sided with the church, although it may be because of a technicality: The magistrate said the IRS official who started the tax investigation wasn't ranked high enough in the agency to make that decision. The separation of church and state does give the IRS a high bar to clear, but the agency should enforce rules that provide churches with tax-exempt status. Those of us who pay taxes deserve that basic level of accountability. So do the church's donors. Living Word and Hammond may have done nothing to violate IRS regulations. But in the spirt of transparency, it seems like the agency should be able to give the church's finances a thorough review. What do you think?

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ruphinaNov. 19, 08 1:16 PM

that would be good, across the board. How about an audit of all 527s? How about all those other non-profit organizations? They certainly are very profitable for the executives involved. They pay themselves salaries in the low to mid six figures, travel for free to symposiums, use non-profit dollars to give themselves perks like top notch healthcare, cars, retirement benefits, etc. Just like those evil CEOs. Their should be no such thing as a political or issue related non-profit. Only charities, and if they can't spend 85% of their income directly on the charity target, they should be dumped. Bill G.

ShockwaveNov. 19, 08 3:13 PM

Does a church really need a jet? If so, they should be prepared to justify the purchase to the laity as well as to the church hierarchy (if the church has a hierarchy). Certainly, as you point out, we taxpayers need to see the paperwork.

How much more in taxes do you want to pay to have clerics fly in high-rolling style?

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