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Clergy Seek IRS Probe of D.C. Boarding House

WASHINGTON (RNS) A group of 13 Ohio clergy is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Washington boarding house used by conservative members of Congress that claims a tax exemption as a church.
The C Street Center, a red brick townhouse on Capitol Hill, came to public attention last summer after the disclosure of its ties to several Republican politicians who had admitted to extramarital affairs.
The three-story townhouse is less a church than an “exclusive club for elected officials,” the Ohio clergy charged in a statement on Tuesday (Feb. 23).
The group, called Clergy VOICE, also filed IRS complaints in 2006 and 2008 against conservatives for allegedly running afoul of tax laws that require nonprofits to remain neutral in political elections.
Clergy VOICE includes pastors from a variety of mainline Protestant denominations.
The C Street Center’s tax exemption was partially revoked last year after an investigation by Washington, D.C., officials, who found that 66 percent of the house was taxable and the rest exempt. The house’s estimated worth is $1.8 million.
Clergy VOICE, whose legal counsel is the former head of the IRS’s exempt organizations division, say none of the house should be tax-exempt.
“An organization whose chief activity is providing room and board to members of Congress is not a church,” Clergy VOICE said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.
The C Street Center is affiliated with the Fellowship Foundation, also known as the Family, a secretive international group of Christian powerbrokers. The foundation’s president, Richard Carver, told The Washington Post that “we have no direct connection in any way with their status or what goes on at C Street.”
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. John Ensign, R-Ariz., both of whom admitted to extramarital affairs last year, have ties to the C Street Center — Sanford as a spiritual seeker, and Ensign as a resident.

— Daniel Burke

  • pagansister

    A church? Doesn’t sound like much “preachin’ ” going on there. Close that place and get all the past taxes from it. Those conservative folks can afford it. Connections to “THE FAMILY”. Still say that wonderful group sounds like the Mafia. Christian mafia, of course!

  • nnmns

    It would improve the neighborhood if they chased all the loose men and probably loose women out on the street.
    But the men are conservative power brokers so their lack of morality won’t matter much, they’ll land just fine. Isn’t it funny how often “family values” people value their families little and outside sex so much more. And divorce rates are highest in red states, suggesting conservatives really don’t value marriage so much after all.
    But I applaud the church folks’ effort. If a religious tax exemption is to exist, which it probably should, it must be applied fairly.

  • Gwyddion9

    ditto to the first two comments!

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  • cknuck

    I don’t see enough information to make a judgment on this situation but don’t let that stop the blood lust.

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  • Joe

    Speaking of conservatives; did John Edwards ever “use” this house? I know Bill Clinton did not.

  • nnmns

    I believe it’s an all-conservative, all-family values house.

  • jestrfyl

    This is one more example of an ostensibly “Christian” organization abusing that name and all that it means for its own very poor purposes. It demeans anyone who would call themselves Christian and devalues anything that other Christians work for. They are an abomination and as Paul wrote to the Philippians, their god is their belly (or lower), and their glory is in their shame.
    As the used to say in Brooklyn, “T’row de bums out!!”

  • jestrfyl

    WHERE ARE YOU ????

  • cknuck

    I wonder if the tiger has been laid off due to cut back? If so I am so sorry.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, I’ve wondered the same thing. I have had email contact with Tiger in the past and got emails back immediately. No reply or requests done for a very long time. It doesn’t seem as if anyone is checking out the comment sections here any more. We don’t need the stupid ads in this area.
    Have any of you filled out the B’net survey? Check the Blogs section, as a couple of them have the link. One is the Pagan section, and I did the survey on the one the Christian Blogs (don’t remember which one). There is a comment section on the bottom of the survey. After I submitted it, I thought of more comments (complaints) I wanted to add, but after you have submitted, it remembers and you can’t re-enter…I tried 2 times! One of the complaints was “jim”s ads messing about in the news section!

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