Lawmaker Probes TV Preachers

Says ritzy ways sparked inquiry into six ministries
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2007 8:18 AM CST
Benny Hinn transfixed the crowd with his promise that Jesus heals: "You don't have to go throuh pains, just call."   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – A top Republican lawmaker is probing six televangelists who have put their opulent lifestyles on display, the AP reports. Rolls Royces, private jets, and a $30,000 table are among the luxuries that sparked Sen. Chuck Grassley's inquiry, he said yesterday. "I don't want to conclude that there's a problem, but people who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code."

Faith healer Benny Hinn and Georgia pastor Creflo Dollar are both on Grassley's list, and both sit on a board at Oral Roberts University—which is currently braving its own financial scandal. One expert called Grassley's probe unprecedented. Pastors Randy and Paula White, both facing scrutiny, called it "unusual, since the IRS has separate powers to investigate religious organizations if they think it's necessary."