According to Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, the IRS targeted both ministries in a “review” that Graham said was part of an Obama administration effort of “targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” Politico reported Tuesday.
According to a letter written by Graham, an ad encouraging voters to support “candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel” during the 2012 election was the reason IRS agents visited the North Carolina offices of both Graham groups. According to Politico, the ads in question supported a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. That amendment, Politico said, passed in May.
“While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,” Graham wrote.
“I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us. This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American,’” the letter added.
Graham said that “in light” of last Friday’s admission that the IRS targeted conservative groups, he did not believe the extra attention was warranted or justified, nor does he believe that it’s a coincidence.
“The Graham organizations kept their federal income tax exemptions after the audit,” Politico said, “but were not told they’d be able to until after the November election, he wrote.”
“Mr. President, the IRS has already publicly acknowledged it operated in a less than neutral and non-partisan way,” he said in his letter. “We also now know that the target of their improper actions was much wider than political or Tea Party organizations. Will you take some immediate action to reassure Americans we are not in a new chapter of American history – repressive government rule?”
Hearings are set to take place Friday before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
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