Press Release
September 30, 2011

Holland & Knight to Provide Counsel to the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations

Tallahassee, Fla. – September 30, 2011 – Holland & Knight has been asked by The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations to provide technical analysis and research for the group, which has been organized to review and provide input on major accountability and policy issues affecting religious and other nonprofit organizations.

Tallahassee partner Nathan Adams on behalf of the firm's Religious Institution practice will lead the firm's efforts on behalf of the Commission. Dr. Adams regularly provides general counsel and other advice to religious institutions as part of his practice, is editor of Holland & Knight’s Religious Institutions Update, and publishes and speaks on church-state law.

The Commission was formed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) in January after Iowa Senator Charles Grassley issued a report focusing on the financial practices of six high-profile, media-based Christian ministries.

The Commission will consider such issues as whether legislation is needed to curb perceived abuses of the clergy housing allowance exclusion, the current prohibition against political campaign involvement by churches and other nonprofits should be repealed or modified, the rules for determining the reasonableness of nonprofit executive compensation should be tightened, and penalties should be expanded for nonprofits and their leaders who engage in prohibited activities.

The Panel of Religious Sector Representatives is composed of 25 leaders from a variety of faiths, including but not limited to Protestant Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Islam and Judaism. For this panel and the Panel of Nonprofit Sector Representatives, made up of 18 individuals, special emphasis was placed on engaging those who represent large segments of their respective faith groups and the nonprofit sector to facilitate broad representation.

About the Religious Institutions Practice: Holland & Knight assists religious institutions by integrating advice about compliance with the increasingly complex and specialized laws applicable to all tax-exempt organizations with counsel on how they may fulfill their distinctive faith-based commitments. Our religious institutions attorneys are specifically trained to identify laws (whether federal, state, or local and constitutional, statutory or otherwise) that exempt or specially burden religious institutions and persons.

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