Saturday, August 30, 2008
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota has declined to comply with an IRS summons and is alleging that the IRS investigation is politically motivated. The apparent grounds for the investigation are accusations of improper financial transactions between the church and its founder and pastor, the Rev. Mac Hammond. These transactions include the leasing of planes by Rev. Hammond to the church for almost $1 million a year and loans totalling almost $2 million from the church to Rev. Hammond, according to a more detailed report in the Minnesota Independent and a press release from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed a complaint with the IRS against the church back in early 2007. The Minnesota Independent article also notes that the IRS investigated the church in 2006 based on a report in that paper that Rev. Hammond had endorsed a candidate from the pulpit. The IRS and the church are now in federal district court fighting over whether the summons should be enforced, with a hearing date set for October 2, 2008.