The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations (www.religiouspolicycommission.org) was formed following a staff report issued in January 2011 by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that focused on the financial practices of six high-profile media-based Christian ministries. After releasing the findings of his three-year inquiry, the senator asked the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and its President, Dan Busby, to spearhead an independent, national effort to review and provide input on major accountability and policy issues affecting religious and other nonprofit organizations.
Issues before the commission include whether:
- churches should be more accountable to the federal government;
- legislation is needed to curb perceived abuses of the clergy housing allowance exclusion;
- the current prohibition against political campaign intervention by churches and other nonprofits should be repealed or modified;
- the rules for determining the reasonableness of nonprofit executive compensation should be tightened;
- penalties should be expanded for nonprofits and their leaders who engage in prohibited activities.
Panelists representing religious groups from a variety of faiths, the broader nonprofit sector and the legal community were named last September to three advisory groups that also are providing input on the issues.
Anyone can post public comments on any of these issues by visiting the commission’s website at www.religiouspolicycommission.org/PublicInput.aspx. This open forum for input on these issues is available through March 31, 2012.