"Empty pews" by Jason Scott / CC BY 2.0

Guardians of the Gates: Gateway Ministries and the church that wasn’t

Sep 16, 2019

By Clifton Adcock

The head of a politically influential Tulsa-based group used the organization’s status as a church to obtain property tax exemptions for his family’s house to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes, though the organization has not had a congregation or held religious services for more than five years, an investigation by The Frontier has found.

Although state and federal records show Gateway Ministries, Inc., is classified as a church, the organization has entered into a compact with a conservative Oklahoma political action committee to endorse and donate to political candidates in the 2020 elections, according to the head of the political action committee.

Federal law prohibits churches and charities from engaging in electioneering and political campaigns, and doing so can jeopardize their tax-exempt status with the IRS, though enforcement of the prohibition on electioneering is often lax, experts say.

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