By Andrew L. Seidel
The Mormon church’s recently unearthed $100 billion stash should tell Congress it’s time to close the absurd loophole that allows churches to misuse and abuse their tax exemption. American taxpayers should demand as much and Congress should find the political courage to act.
With some apparently shady maneuvering, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints created a $100 billion company, one of the wealthiest in the country, according to a blockbuster report in the Washington Post. Most remarkably, in a post-recession era of heightened regulation and scrutiny, the church did this without anyone knowing.
The Post story focuses on the unlawful hoarding of this wealth because charitable donations are supposed to go to charitable work, not sit around earning interest. If true, the fraud is shocking. But the abuse was fostered by a foolish and unnecessary loophole in the rules governing charitable organizations. The government and taxpayers knew little about this absurdly wealthy company because churches and religious charities, unlike every other charity in America, file no financial disclosures with the IRS.
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