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Do You Know What Is The FRC? See Updates Here

A right-wing policy think tank and political pressure group, the Family Research Council operates out of a multimillion-dollar headquarters on G Street in Washington, D.C., only steps from the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

The FRC has fought for legislation banning gender-affirming surgery from its perch in the middle of the national capital; filed amicus briefs in favour of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and argued for religious exemptions to civil rights laws.

Its longtime leader, Tony Perkins, a former state senator and ordained minister, takes credit for advancing the Republican platform to the right over the past 20 years.

Describe the FRC. Its website condenses the response to this query into 63 words: “a nonprofit organization that focuses on research and teaching with a family-centred public life perspective.

FRC aims to educate the news media, the academic community, business leaders, and the general public about family issues that affect the nation from a biblical worldview in addition to conducting policy research and analysis for the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.”

Obtain free, real-time information about what’s happening in Washington, DC, from Patch.

However, the Internal Revenue Service views it as a church as well, with Perkins serving as its pastor.

According to records obtained by ProPublica under the Freedom of Information Act, the FRC applied to become an “association of churches” in March 2020, a title frequently used by organizations with member churches like the Southern Baptist Convention. A few months later, the organization authorized the modification.

The FRC is one of a rising number of activist groups that are applying for church status, a classification that grants an organization the authority to protect itself from financial scrutiny.

The FRC was no longer required to file a public tax return, known as a Form 990, disclosing key staffer salaries, the names of board members and associated organizations, large payments to independent contractors, and grants the organization had made once the IRS granted it permission to operate as an association of churches.

Contrary to other charities, a church audit cannot be started by IRS investigators until the audit has received the approval of a senior Treasury Department official.

Officials from the FRC declined to give interviews or respond to any inquiries for this story. In 2016, Focus on the Family, the former parent organization, altered its legal status to become a church.

The organization stated in a statement that it made the transition mostly out of concern for the privacy of donor information, noting that many organizations similar to it have already done so.

Many of them assert that they have always conducted themselves in actuality as churches or groups of churches.


According to Warren Cole Smith, president of the Christian transparency watchdog MinistryWatch, organizations like these are likely seeking IRS church designation for the benefits it offers.

He declared, “I don’t think many of the organizations that have applied for the church exemption are actually churches. And I doubt that they believe themselves to be churches.

Although it is noted that organizations need not adhere to all of the requirements, the IRS utilizes a list of 14 characteristics to evaluate if an organization is a church or an association of churches.

In response to 11 of those questions, the Family Research Council said that it had a variety of “partner churches” that share the same objective of “holding all life as sacred, seeing families prosper, and promoting religious freedom.”

The association’s members assert that there is no predetermined procedure for a church to join; rather, partners (including FRC staff members) must affirm a statement of faith before joining.

It asserts that their association includes approximately 40,000 churches with a variety of creeds and views and that this mimics the structure of the “first Christian churches mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible.”

The FRC’s website does not include these partners or use the word “church” anywhere on its home page, in contrast to the Southern Baptist Convention, whose website hosts a directory of more than 50,000 connected churches.

This list of partner churches was not included in the FRC’s application to join an alliance of churches, and the organization did not give ProPublica the names either.

The FRC acknowledged that it officiates at baptisms, marriages, and funerals but claimed to delegate those responsibilities to its affiliate churches. Did it have schools where children could learn religion? The partner churches were tasked with doing it as well.

According to the FRC, it has a congregation made up of its board of directors, staff, backers, and affiliated churches rather than members. It claims that some of those partner churches do have members.

Does the group hold weekly or monthly chapel services? The response is affirmative, as stated in the FRC’s letter to the IRS. It stated that, on average, more than 65 people attend its services at its office building.

However, a staff member who answered the phone told a ProPublica reporter, “We don’t have church service,” when the reporter asked about the timings of the services. The form states in other places that the people who use its services are made up of its employees.

The following are snippets from a document that ProPublica was able to obtain. Use the arrows to navigate around it.

Five positions in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network are now accepting applications. We are looking to collaborate with regional journalists who are interested in looking into misconduct and power abuses in their local areas.

Beginning on November 1, 2022, our new partners will work with us for one year. All local and regional newsrooms are welcome to submit applications from journalists.

Each full-time writer will receive a salary (up to $75,000) from ProPublica as well as a benefit allowance. Local reporters receive considerable support and direction for their work from ProPublica, including cooperation with a senior editor and access to ProPublica’s skills with data, research, engagement, video, and design.

Local reporters continue to work from and report to their home newsrooms. Your newsroom will publish or air the piece concurrently with ProPublica.

The deadline for submissions is August 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. For those who are interested in applying, below are further specifics.

The Local Reporting Network was established by ProPublica at the beginning of 2018 to support investigative reporting in local newsrooms.

Since then, it has collaborated with approximately 60 media outlets. ProPublica’s local strategy, which comprises offices throughout the Midwest, South, and Southwest as well as an investigative team created in collaboration with the Texas Tribune, encompasses the network.

The Local Reporting Network’s and its local partners’ reporting has had a big impact.

Thousands of underprivileged patients, including its own employees, were sued and had their salaries taken by the region’s largest hospital system for unpaid medical debts, according to a report by Memphis, Tennessee-based nonprofit news outlet MLK50.

The hospital then drastically enlarged its financial assistance program for hospital care, reduced its patient litigation, erased $11.9 million in unpaid medical debts, and increased the minimum wage it pays employees. The investigative reporting pieces received the Selden Ring Award.

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Through our collaboration with the Miami Herald, we examined the severely flawed Florida program designed to offer support services and a financial safety net to the families of children born with severe brain impairments.

The documentary found that as families waited for assistance, the program protected doctors at the expense of their suffering families and amassed $1.5 billion in assets.

The coverage pushed the state legislature to swiftly make long-needed reforms and prompted the program’s chief director to extend benefits to the families before stepping down.

We also worked together with Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) to investigate a Tennessee county where children were being arrested and imprisoned at alarmingly high rates.

More than 3.5 million people read the Rutherford County series, which sparked calls for reform.

The U.S. Department of Justice was urged to launch a civil rights inquiry by eleven members of Congress.

The governor of Tennessee demanded that the juvenile court judge in Rutherford County be reviewed.

Legislators proposed a bill to dismiss the judge in January 2022, alleging an “appalling abuse of power.” The judge declared she would retire this year rather than run for office an hour after ProPublica wrote on the bill.

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