Allegations baseless, pastor says

COLUMBUS (AP) -- A pastor with ties to one of three GOP candidates for governor said Friday a complaint filed with the IRS over those connections is off base and part of a liberal political agenda.
Pastor Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church acknowledged making political contributions only to the campaign of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell but said he's fully within his rights as a private citizen. Blackwell also appears at events with Parsley and provided Parsley a glowing blurb for his latest book.
"I don't check my citizenship at the door of my church, nor do I check my Christianity at the door to the Statehouse," Parsley said. "As a private citizen, I am more than entitled to contribute to a political campaign."
Parsley and his mother, Ellen, contributed $2,500 each to Blackwell in 2004, according to state campaign finance records.
Parsley said he was "a little bit hand-tied" in what he could say at a news conference about his personal political preferences.
Earlier in the week, a group of 31 pastors sent a letter to the tax agency regarding Parsley's church and the Ohio Restoration Project, led by the Rev. Russell Johnson of Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster.
The other pastors said Parsley and Johnson should lose their tax-exempt status because they improperly used their pulpits for partisan politics, namely the promotion of Blackwell for governor.

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