Thursday, October 19, 2006

Questions, answers & a call for an investigation of Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline

By Diane Silver

More news today on Phill Kline's church fundraising strategy...

* A Washington D.C. watchdog group,Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, called for an IRS investigation of Kline's church fundraising campaign. The head of the group called Kline's actions "egregious conduct."

* One clarification came out in Kline's favor. He spoke in July at the Light of the World Christian Center in Topeka. At that time, the minister at the church asked his congregation to write checks to the church, so that the church could write one check to Kline. The church sent that check to SWT Communications, a company owned by the Klines. SWT donated to Kline's campaign in June, the month before he spoke at Light of the World.

* Kline confirmed to The Kansas City Star that his wife's company often receives money from churches where he speaks.

Kline, who often preaches at churches throughout the state, said that congregations often make what he called "love offerings" to SWT Communications, operated by his wife, Deborah Kline. The company produces radio programs and church events and retreats. Kline's preaching is often featured during the events, he said.

SWT, by the way, is a money-making company, not a religious nonprofit.

Here's a key question: How much money has SWT gotten from these churches? What happened to that money?

The detail on Kline's church fundraising was revealed by former Kansas Attorney General Bob

Stephan said he resigned as a special assistant to Kline because of it. The Star reported:

Stephan said he also was bothered by the offering taken up at churches for the company owned by Kline's wife. He said he asked for a written accounting of the money and was told by Kline's staff that he wouldn't get one.

"And I said 'That's the end of that,'" Stephan said of his decision to quit.
The Topeka Capital-Journal also has an interesting story.

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