Congress has been investigating the mega-churches of Bishop Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer for over a year now.
The initial congressional investigation led by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) ended with an audit last fall and was concluded but with open questions. Funds and property were the lynch pins for queries. All the churches investigated submitted paperwork that was either missing key facts or were cloudy with names and slight misdirections. In response to that Congress gave suggestions to all ministries.
Although Grassley’s inquiry is ongoing, his office released some initial findings Monday.
Four ministries have declined to cooperate or have provided incomplete information, Grassley said. They are Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church; Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International; Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church; and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Joyce Meyer Ministries is undertaking internal reforms in the wake of the congressional inquiry into its finances. The extent of the changes is unclear. Grassley’s staff declined to elaborate. And Roby Walker, a spokesman for the Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries, founded by popular TV evangelist Joyce Meyer, said the specifics were being worked out.
The action comes nearly a year after Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, launched an inquiry into six ministries including Long’s. Grassley said at the time that he was disturbed by reports about preachers living lavishly while their tax-exempt churches escaped scrutiny. The Finance Committee oversees tax laws and the IRS.
Grassley said Monday that Joyce Meyer Ministries and one other ministry, Texas-based Benny Hinn’s World Healing Center Church, had been very cooperative with his inquiry and were taking internal steps to address concerns about their financial dealings. The two ministries have engaged in “open and honest dialogue” with the committee staff, Grassley said in a statement.
“Both Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn have indicated that they are also instituting reforms without waiting for the committee to complete its review,” he said.