Harold Camping, multi-millionaire sheltered under a 501(c)(3) bracket
Does anyone else have a problem with this?
89-year-old Camping is a retired civil engineer who built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction. In 2009 alone, his organization reported in tax filing receipts of $18.3 million in donations, with assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.
According to the IRS.gov site:
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.
Where this really bothers me is that organizations such as, and not limited to, Family Radio, are exempt from paying taxes. When donations fall will into the millions, and being tax-exempt, these hugely “profiting” churches are not unlike the big oil companies sheltered under their enormous tax breaks.
We’ve seen this occur countless times before Camping, such as the Bakkers and the PTL club… taking advantage of the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) structure.
Perhaps it is time a cap is imposed, and every dollar above and beyond the cap must go back into the community. Sadly, though, scavengers such as Camping would only find ways around having to do so.
What heavenly sanctity is there in taking so much money from devoted followers only to live a life of opulence while others suffer. Referencing the spreading of the word of this false prophecy “Judgment Day”, Reuters reported one such individual, a retired Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker in New York, Robert Fitzpatrick, 60, who said he spent more than $140,000 of his savings on subway posters and bus shelter advertisements warning of the May 21 Judgment Day. What? Doesn’t Family Radio have enough money to spend on the posters and ads? This ministry completely took advantage of Fitzpatrick.
On the flip side, though, similar to caveat emptor, those who have donated, quit their jobs, sold their houses for Camping are still responsible for their own actions.
“You have not failed no one Grasshopper, only your own ambition.”