11th Hour Filing Shows Church Spent Additional $190,000 Raises Lots of Questions

In a surprising development late Friday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints finally reported some of its non monetary contributions it spent to pass Proposition 8. Prop 8 appeared on the November 4th ballot, and ended same-sex marriage in California.

The Mormon Church has been under investigation by CaliforniaÂ’s Fair Political Practices Commission for alleged lack of reporting of non monetary contributions (FPPC Case # 080735) for the past 2 ½ months. Secretary of State Web Site Momon Filing — http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1311334&session=2007&view=contributions

Here are two great stories on this new twist from yesterday.

The first is by John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle and the second by Jessica Garrison of the Los Angeles Times. The campaign filing raises more questions that it appears to answer. It will be very interesting to see how the Mormon Church deals with the many lingering questions about its extensive financial involvement on Prop 8.

San Francisco Chronicle — http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/31/BA7615KLB9.DTL&hw=mormons&sn=001&sc=1000

Mormon church reports $190,000 Prop. 8 expensesMormon church officials, facing an ongoing investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Friday reported nearly $190,000 in previously unlisted assistance to the successful campaign for Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

The report, filed with the secretary of state’s office, listed a variety of California travel expenses for high-ranking members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and included $20,575 for use of facilities and equipment at the church’s Salt Lake City headquarters and a $96,849 charge for “compensated staff time” for church employees who worked on matters pertaining to Prop. 8.

“This is exactly what we were talking about when we filed the suit,” said Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, which opposed the same-sex marriage ban. “They spent money on the campaign and were supposed to report it.”Church officials were not available for comment Friday night.

Karger filed his complaint with the FPPC on Nov. 13, alleging that the Mormon church had produced commercials, set up Web sites, conducted simulcasts and sent church leaders to California to support Prop. 8 without filing any of the required reports.Up until Friday, the Mormon church had denied any direct financial support for the campaign beyond a reported $2,078 spent for bringing church Elder L. Whitney Clayton to California.

Church officials complained that Karger’s complaint was full of errors and that the church had “fully complied” with California law.

The report filed Friday contained few details about how the money was spent. It did list $26,000 for audio-visual production and travel expenses for a number of Mormon leaders other than Clayton.It also reported a number of expenses in the Bay Area, including $122 for a meal at Nonna Rose Restaurant in San Francisco, and $133 spent at the 3-Zero Cafe in Half Moon BayWhile the deadline for the report, which covers the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, is Monday, many campaign contributions by major donors and independent committees must be reported within days after they’re made.

Roman Porter, the FPPC’s executive director, declined to discuss the case directly, saying only that it remained under investigation. In general, however, “cases like these hinge over what had to be reported and when it had to be reported,” he said. A late report covering disputed filings “wouldn’t remove the obligation to file on time” but would be considered by investigators.

The proposed ban on same-sex marriage was called the second most-watched campaign in the nation last November, behind the presidential race. While Mormons gave millions of dollars to the “Yes on Prop. 8” campaign, church leaders insisted that the contributions came from individual church members, not the church itself, so the church was not required to file reports with California.

E-mail John Wildermuth at jwildermuth@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page B – 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angles Times — — http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/01/top-officials-w.html

Mormon church reports spending $180,000 on Proposition 8Jessica Garrison 6:48 AM PST, January 31, 2009 Top officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed reports Friday indicating that they donated more than $180,000 in in-kind contributions to Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California.

The contributions included tens of thousands of dollars for expenses such as airline tickets, hotel and restaurant bills and car-rental bills for top church officials such as L. Whitney Clayton, along with $96,849.31 worth of “compensated staff time” for church employees.

The church said the expenditures took place between July 1 and the end of the year. The church’s involvement has been a major issue in the campaign and its aftermath. Individual Mormon families donated millions — by some estimates more than $20 million — of their own money to the campaign.On top of that, some Prop. 8 opponents say church officials violated election law by failing to file campaign disclosure reports outlining church funds being spent on
he campaign.

Fred Karger, who filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission after the election alleging that church officials had not properly disclosed their involvement, said he thought today’s filing proves that his complaint has merit. “They said they reported all their travel … now, when there is a [complaint filed] they disclose 25 Southwest tickets just in October,” he said. “They were required to report this” in an earlier filing, he said.

Church officials could not be reached for comment this evening.


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