Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
May 15th, 2013
11:29 AM ET
2 years ago

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

(CNN) - Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.

"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

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Filed under: IRS • President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Save your indignation mr. graham, or at least be honest – your little group bought ad space in order to tell voters how to vote on political matters. That you didn't lose your tax exempt status is in itself a crime.

    May 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Thomas

    Then the IRS was doing there job Mr Tax right off !

    Do you know how many churches are fake , set up only for the purpose not to pay taxes .

    The fake church of entrepreneurship .

    May 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Didn't take Graham long to crawl out from under his rock of fake indignation, did it?
    Here's a (free) thought for Mr. Graham to chew on: keep your religion out of politics.

    May 15, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. rs

    Just as in the Bush years, churches that advocate for candidates of any stripe should lose their tax-excempt status.

    May 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. really

    Perhaps Mr Graham now knows how Rev. George F. Regas of the All Saints Episcopal Church felt back in 2006 when the IRS came after him for anti war comments in a sermon. Rep Adam Schiff a Democrat tried to launch a government accountability hearing into this, and was denied. Republicans didn't have too much of a problem with it back then.

    May 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. steve

    Can you hear my little violin playing LOL

    May 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Ministries who spew political views from the pulpit should be targeted. To be honest, churches shouldn't be allowed a tax exempt status at all!!! The simple fact is that the laws of this county do not coincide with the laws of holy doctrine(s). Prime example is same sex marriage. You can not tell me that there is a church, mosque or synagogue in this country that does not condemn same sex marriage within the confines of their walls. They do!

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. America Above Parties

    This creep Franklin Graham is NOBODY had it not been born into Billy Graham. This is about time we should re-examine the tax exampt status for any institutions that hide bahind so called "non-profit" and do nothing but lie, cheat and rake in money for selected interest groups. Just when we need revenues and GOP refuse to increase ridiculously low tax rates for millioners.

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I think it was Lyndon Johnson that got the Law Passed so Churches could'nt Campaign for a certain Canidate. The Law is probably Un Constutional as it adbridges free speech.

    The Liberal's have so many problems now they don't need anymore. What goes up must come down.

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Mike Wallace

    Mr. Graham is unsurprisingly struggling with basic cognitive reasoning. That the IRS audits you does not inherently mean your were targetd for political or any other nefarious reasons. I have been audited before; never thought it was a politically motivated targeting...

    May 15, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Too many churches are nothing more than PACs. Why should these churches retain tax-exempt status? The money I've donated to PACs isn't tax-exempt. Why should "tithing" to a PAC cloaked as a church be different?

    May 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Mike Wallace

    Ray E. it would seem you dod not knwo what freedom of speech is. No one is telling Mr. Graham that he can not campaign. Freedom of speech does nto mean that you are entitled to tax exempt status. The two are separate issues.

    May 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Michael

    Ray they can preach what ever they want – if they pay taxes – want a free ride than go back to preaching about some made upsuper god

    May 15, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. MTATL67

    These groups target the rights of others. These groups call to strip others of their rights. These groups stood at the entrance to the capital building hurdling racial slurs at Congressmen. The IRS was wrong but let me be very clear they do not have my sympathy.

    May 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Ministries who spew political views from the pulpit should be targeted. To be honest, churches shouldn't be allowed a tax exempt status at all!!! The simple fact is that the laws of this county do not coincide with the laws of holy doctrine(s). Prime example is same sex marriage. You can not tell me that there is a church, mosque or synagogue in this country that does not condemn same sex marriage within the confines of their walls. They do!
    -------
    So are you saying that a minister cannot preach against same-sex marriage without the threat of losing tax-exemt status looming over him or her? Are you not only saying that, but advocating that?

    May 15, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    Since Graham's churches were involved in political activity, the IRS was justified in this case, and Graham's assertions about intimidation are just that - assertions.

    And Ray, separation of church and state is also a Constitutional mandate.

    May 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Data Driven

    By the way, did anyone else notice in the article that the IRS stopped the extra scrutiny of "tea party" groups in May 2012? Sounds like they're already addressing possible abuses.

    I'm getting that witchhunt feeling once again ...

    May 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. The Elephant in the Room

    Ignore the letter Mr. Obama. Remind this guy that he is nobody special; that he is not on your level.

    He is clearly far more partisan than his father who, himself, was a "conservative". But he daddy had the sense & decency not to subvert duly elected officials and did not attempt to pervert the tax code to gain exempt status for his rightwing leaning political proclivities.

    Make no mistake about it. IF religious organizations ARE engaging in POLITICAL ADVOCACY, their tax expemt status should be YANKED and any "constitution loving American" [of which Graham claims to be] should support said yanking!

    May 15, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Did anyone catch the outright lie that Karl Rove told on Fox the other night. He was claiming that if a Republican had been in the White House and used the IRS to attack liberal groups and religous groups, the Democrats and MSM would go absolutely crazy. He continued to say that nothing of this sort occurred during the two terms of George W. Bush. I guess he's denying the two year investigation of the NAACP that started in 2004, which cost them millions in lawyer fees, and all of the other audits against civll rights groups both large and small.

    May 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Doesn't Graham know that when you speak critically of politician, directly by name, in public you're becoming involved in politics?

    May 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Dave Harris

    'Churches' that turn themselves in propaganda arms of the Republican party are not supposed to get tax-free status. The IRS has been way too lenient on this. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize hate, racism and bigotry.

    May 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. DumbasRocks [R]s

    I hope the IRS did investigate this chimp. Graham is a political operative and so are his ministries. Political groups do NOT qualify tax-exempt, even when they try to hide behind 'god'.

    Boehner has asked "who is going to jail"? Well, let's start with Graham.

    May 15, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    OK, so I guess this is the recipe:

    Step 1: Obtain tax exempt status that is contingent upon not engaging in politics.

    Step 2: Raise blatant red flags by publishing flagrantly political ads in a newspaper that talk about how people should vote.

    Step 3: Receive letter from IRS saying "we noticed."

    Step 4: Engage persecution-complex overdrive thrusters and take victimhood claims to ludicrous speed.

    May 15, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |