Tax-exempt planes for Church leaders

Sarah Posner: While media hacks screech about Pelosi's jet, televangelists buy their own -- with tax-exempt church funds.
While the House GOP, the RNC and the Anna Nicole Smith-addled media prattle on about Nancy and the jet, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed an IRS complaint against Brooklyn Park, Minnesota prosperity preacher Mac Hammond. CREW charges Hammond used church funds to buy himself not only a jet airplane, but a stunt airplane as well.

Hammond, some readers might recall, last fall endorsed Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Fool for Christ a.k.a. R-Bush Kissed Me!), which drew the first IRS complaint CREW filed against him for violating the prohibition against clergy endorsing political candidates.

Luxury jets -- often purchased with church funds -- are common among televangelists. Churches receive donations that are tax-exempt to the church and a tax deduction to the donor. So when those funds are used to buy jets for televangelists to fly around in, taxpayers are, in part, footing the bill. Do you hear any Republicans screeching about that?
Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared on Alternet, The American Prospect, The Gadflyer, and in other publications.