*Updates below 9:20 a.m. 1-28-2015
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]olorado state Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt says Colorado paperwork for his charity organization, Persuade the World/Pray in Jesus Name is up-to-date and that the organization is in good standing with the state.
His remarks come in response to a story reported by The Colorado Independent on Tuesday, which quoted the Secretary of State’s office to say that the group had failed to complete its registration process and so the office in October suspended the group’s status as a charitable organization. That suspended status remains listed on the Secretary of State website as of late Tuesday.
Klingenschmitt forwarded to The Independent a certificate of good standing “dated today,” he wrote in an email, signed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (Pictured here and available for download as a pdf.) Klingenschmitt explained that he filed papers to bring his registration up to date on Saturday, January 24th, 2014, three days ago. But the Secretary’s certificate shows some of the documents were electronically received by the office Tuesday at 2:46 p.m., nearly three hours after the original Colorado Independent story posted.
In fact, The Colorado Independent specifically asked the Division of Charitable Organizations at the Secretary of State’s office on Monday whether there could be lag-time in updating the group’s status. A division staffer reviewed the organization’s file and said firmly that that was not possible and that Persuade the World/Pray in Jesus Name had “not complied with the law.”
*Update: The Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday morning reports that the charity status of Persuade the World/Pray in Jesus Name remains suspended, that new documents have been received but that it normally takes between seven to ten days to accept or reject the forms as part of the registration-application process.
As The Independent reported, suspended status with the state means that Persuade the World/Pray in Jesus Name could not solicit or accept donations as a nonprofit. According to the Charitable Organizations Division and the Secretary of State website, the group’s charity status was suspended on October 15, 2014.
In an email sent Tuesday, Klingenschmitt explained that the fundraiser emails he has sent out since October 15 and that were cited by The Colorado Independent “come from a totally different for-profit corporation, GJK, Inc., not from the non-profit as you falsely claim.”
But the fundraising emails cited by The Independent do not include reference to GJK, Inc. They do, however, come from an email address with the “prayinjesusname.org” Internet domain. They also include at the top a prominent “Pray in Jesus Name Project” banner (“Sending Petitions to God & Government to Defend Religious Freedom.”) An email sent on December 30 (see image below) asks specifically for donations for the “Pray in Jesus Name Ministries”. It reads:
[blockquote]Please select here to donate your best End-Of-Year gift to Pray In Jesus Name Ministries (our 501c3 non-profit, 100% tax-deductible, used for religious education and charity to help the poor, with zero salary to Gordon since its inception in 1999). [/blockquote]
When readers click on the linked text to donate, GJK, Inc. is never mentioned. The link takes you to the Pray in Jesus Name website donate page, “copyright 2015 The Pray in Jesus Name Project,” with the following text at the top:
[blockquote]YES! I support your non-profit defense of religious liberty and freedom of Christian expression, broadcasting the gospel on TV-radio-internet, and service to the poor and orphans. To help you protect our right to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name,” and mobilize tens of thousands of people to petition God and government, I’m making my tax-deductible donation to “PRAY IN JESUS NAME MINISTRIES.”[/blockquote]
*Update: By Wednesday morning, that text had been changed. It now reads:
[blockquote]YES! I agree that defending religious liberty, especially the right to express our Christian faith in public, is critical to the future of our nation. To help you protect our right to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name,” defend traditional marriage and the right to life, by television broadcasting or radio ads for conservative Christian political causes, or publish your political analysis by internet or fax, or hire you for public speaking, and to mobilize tens of thousands of people to petition God and government, I’m making my NON-TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION to The Pray In Jesus Name Project, payable to “GJK, Inc.” [/blockquote]
Klingenschmitt also wrote to say that Persuade the World/Pray in Jesus Name tax documents cited by The Colorado Independent were falsified or doctored. He disputes that he ever listed a property asset worth $2.6 million and reports that the charity has “$0 in property assets.”
The documents cited and linked to by The Colorado Independent are IRS 990 forms for 2013 submitted under the group name “Persuade the World” and posted on the Secretary of State’s website. In its story Tuesday, The Independent linked directly to the state website documents. Indeed, the same documents as of 9:11 p.m. Tuesday are still available for viewing and downloading there. They have not changed. The Colorado Independent has downloaded the documents (here as pdf) and taken screen shots of them.
The Independent called and emailed Klingenschmitt on Tuesday for additional clarification. We look forward to answering questions raised by the conflicting information reported above.