Huckabee Accused Of Taking Money, To Halt Church Investigations?
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|Republican hopeful Mike Huckabee reached out to a questionable funding source this week — Texas televangelist Kenneth Copeland, one of the targets of a Senate Finance Committee investigation into the funding and governance of "prosperity gospel" ministries.|
At Copeland’s annual by-invitation-only Minister's Conference at his Newark, Texas, headquarters Jan. 23, Copeland received a call during the meeting from Huckabee requesting emergency financing. According Doug Wead, former Bush family evangelical adviser, Copeland and his supporters at the conference raised $111,000 in cash for Huckabee, with about a million dollars in pledged donations, after he temporarily adjourned the conference and then reconvened the group as a "private meeting."
Wead relayed a report in his blog from a source at the meeting that "Last night [Jan. 23] the Governor called his friend in the middle of a conference and Copeland, carefully observing all the laws governing non profits, as a private citizen, re-convened a private meeting, turned to his friends and raised $111,000 in cash and reportedly a cool million in promises for Huckabee." (See "Mike Huckabee’s Big Mistake")
According to video clips of the conference obtained by Trinity Foundation, an investigative watchdog group in Dallas, Copeland revealed that Huckabee had pledged his total support to Copeland's ministry while dismissing the Senate investigation.
Video clips of Copeland's comments are posted on The Wittenburg Door Magazine website.
One video clip shows Copeland describing a phone call from Huckabee regarding the Senate investigation:
"[Huckabee told me] Why should I stand with them and not stand with you? They've only got 11 per cent approval rating.' And then he said, 'Kenneth Copeland, I will stand with you.' He said, 'You're trying to get prosperity to the people and they're trying to take it away from 'em.' He said, 'I will stand with you any time, anywhere, on any issue.' That settled that right there. I said, 'Yeah, that's my man! That's my man, right there.'"
Copeland's fundraising for Huckabee may have violated Internal Revenue Service rules.
IRS code states: "The political campaign intervention prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization. To avoid potential attribution of their comments outside of organization functions and publications, organization leaders who speak or write in their individual capacity are encouraged to clearly indicate that their comments are personal and not intended to represent the views of the organization."
Ole Anthony, president of Trinity Foundation said, “At the 2007 Minister’s Conference, they raised $2.1 million dollars as a gift to Kenneth Copeland for his 70th birthday when Copeland wasn’t present. They could easily raise a whole lot of money for Huckabee since Copeland told the audience that Huckabee was 'his man.' If this action isn’t illegal under the IRS Code, it certainly strains all sense of ethics.”
More information is available by calling Trinity Foundation at 214-827-2625 or e-mailing Pete Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.