Tax Exemption Questioned for Christian Congressional Man Cave - John R. Dundon II, Enrolled Agent
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Tax Exemption Questioned for Christian Congressional Man Cave

Tax Exemption Questioned for Christian Congressional Man Cave

New York Times editorial, Render Unto C Street:

It is not unusual for members of Congress to arrange group rentals in Washington to share housing costs and, for some, underline their continuing “outsider” status. What is highly unusual, and unjustifiable, is the tax-exempt status as a religious institution enjoyed by a boarding house called the C Street Center that caters to conservative Christian lawmakers.

The $1.8 million townhouse came to public notice last year when three recent tenants — Senator John Ensign; Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor and former congressman; and former Representative Charles Pickering Jr. — were embroiled in marital infidelity scandals. Mr. Pickering was accused by his estranged wife of entertaining a mistress at the house.

The center soon lost most of its city tax exemption, after District of Columbia officials decided it was a residence, not a church. And now a coalition of mainline Christian ministers is demanding that the IRS end the center’s federal tax exemption and its shield of nontransparency. The coalition is rightly concerned that the center is exploiting, and thereby cheapening, the constitutional protections guaranteed legitimate religious institutions. …

Family values, human frailty and forgiveness are the stuff of spiritual counseling that evangelical tenants claim goes on privately inside the C Street Center. All well and good, but that does not make a church of a boarding house nor require a tithing of taxpayers.