Virtual 'Town Hall' Meeting Slated by Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations

January 24, 2012

Feb. 17 Webcast Part of ECFA-Led National, Independent Effort to Review, Provide Input on Issues Affecting Such Groups

Please visit this page on February 17 to attend the Commission Town Hall Event.

Town Hall Meeting

WINCHESTER, Va. – The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations will host a virtual "town hall" meeting via the Internet Feb. 17 to receive input on issues being reviewed by the group, the commission announced today. The public and media nationwide are invited to participate in the 90-minute event, which will begin at 1 p.m. EST and be broadcast from The National Press Club studios in Washington, D.C.

Michael Batts, commission chairman, and Dan Busby, ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) president, will present issues the commission is reviewing. The public and press are encouraged to participate in real time during the session by submitting questions for Batts and Busby to address. The meeting website is

"Webcasting allows the ultimate in open, public participation from all quarters in the work of this commission," Batts said. "Anyone in the United States is welcome to give input concerning the important issues on the commission agenda."

Batts said the public comment section on the commission’s website at also is an open forum for input on these issues and is available through March 31.

Members of the media may arrange interviews with Batts or Busby following the webcast.

The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations ( 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 ECFA 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  • the current prohibition against political campaign intervention by churches and other nonprofits should be repealed or modified;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.

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit or call 1-800-323-9473.


To schedule an interview with Michael Batts, commission chairman, or Dan Busby, ECFA president, contact Ty Mays at 770-256-8710 or

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