Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote to the president.
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor
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(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.

Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."

Graham said the ads were purchased by funds donated by "friends of our ministry."

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In September, the IRS informed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international aid group, that it would review the groups' records for the tax year ending in 2010, according to Graham. IRS agents conducted the review in October, Graham said.

The organizations, both of which are run by Graham, later received notice that they remain eligible for federal tax exemptions, he said.

"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence - or justifiable," Graham said in the letter to Obama.

The IRS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The agency has acknowledged that it gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for federal tax exemptions. The Treasury Department's inspector general said in a report that the IRS' use of "inappropriate criteria"  ended in May 2012.

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Obama said Tuesday that he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold IRS employees accountable for "these failures."

"But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong," Obama said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,354 Responses)
  1. Jon Armes

    To franklin Graham all I can Say is you choose a cult member, an organization that proudly admits its a mormman group over a fellow Christian, let me just say a lot of my black Christian friends thinks that one decision divided our races more then anything in the past thirty years but we still consider those that feel that way family members although you may not. I will never understand how people put anything before their faith Jesus. Ploitices race before brothers and sisters in Christ ( help me understand)

    February 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
  2. Science

    The legal end from Bing!

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    CNN logo CNN 3 weeks ago
    When Christians become a 'hated minority.............

    When Christians become a 'hated minority'
    The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it... Full Article at CNN


    Faith-Healing Churches Linked to 2 Dozen Child Deaths

    by Vince Lattanzio posted on May 25, 2013 02:45PM GMT


    Have a great life.


    May 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    Hey faith .....use link below........enter email share story

    CNN logo CNN 3 weeks ago
    When Christians become a 'hated minority'


    May 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |

    May 26, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  3. kirshy28

    the IRS SHOULD target ministries! they've been tax-exempt for too long!

    May 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  4. David

    Why do bank robbers go to banks?
    Why do police target minorities?
    Why does the IRS target right wing nut jobs?

    Best return for your efforts!

    May 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  5. UpsetVoter

    The answer is to remove tax exempt status and federal funding for all these groups regardless of what they are for. It is not the governments job to give donations to charitable organizations. The country is in deep debt.

    All elections should have limits on how much money can be spent. How many thousands of families could be fed for a year with the money spent on political campaigns.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  6. ronvan

    The question I have is just what terms or definitions does one use to gain "tax exempt" status? What happened to "separation between church & state"? What the IRS did wrong was to attach certain words, stupid, to audit tax exempt orgainizations! WHO is going to investigate, determine, eligibily, for tax exempt status? I would bet that WE would be shocked to find out just how many have tax exemption? MAYBE, if anything, ALL with a tax exemption should be looked at and the definitions redone to insure that everything is on the up & up!

    May 22, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  7. david campbell100

    If you think Emily`s story is unimaginable,, 2 weeks ago my girlfriends brother basically brought home $5339 workin a twenty hour week from home and there classmate's step-sister`s neighbour done this for 6 months and brought home over $5339 in their spare time on-line. applie the tips from this website............ Fℴx85. ℂℴm

    May 21, 2013 at 3:14 am |
  8. Tim W.

    If you have nothing to hide.....what is the problem ?

    May 20, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Fed Up

      So why was there NO FUNDING for safe room????
      I really do not care if
      they are white, black or pink! They are there to represent us! Most are
      following their own agenda.
      We pay them from this
      money through taxes!
      I am feed up with both "parties"
      taking all for themselves while we ALL tighten our belts to GIVE THEM more!
      "The fact is the deficit is still too high,
      and we're still investing too little in the things that we need for the economy
      to grow as fast as it should...."
      Cut (GOP, Pres all the way down!) their wages to
      lower tax Burden! Cut Life pay as well they should have saved their own money
      If their Wages were cut
      they could feel what a majority of us feel NOW. We are paying their wages from
      our income!

      May 22, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  9. Auntie Krist

    I want to form my own cult... can anyone tell me where I can get Cult Leadership Certification. I want to be the next "America's Preacher". I need an angle though... the anti-gay, anti-mixed-marriage, anti-middle-eastern-anything, anti-science stances are already taken. I'm looking for fresh ideas, folks... just make it something that appeals to hate, ignorance or desperation. Thanks and gawwwwwwwwwwwwd bless.

    May 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • beelzebubba

      Witch-hunting... I hear it's coming back

      May 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.