Mormon Cover-up of Prop 8 Funding



Late last Friday, January 30th the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filled a Major Donor Report with the California Secretary of State listing $189,903.58 in non-momentary expenditures on behalf of Protectmarriage.com — Yes on Prop 8. The Mormon Church finally admitted directly spending a huge sum of money as part of its monumental effort to end same-sex marriage in California
http://calaccess.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1311334&session=2007&view=contributions

The Church waited until 5:00 pm on Friday, one business day ahead of the required filing date of February 2nd to turn in its first report detailing at least some of its involvement in the Prop 8 campaign. This was clearly timed by the Mormon Church and its attorneys to try and stay out of the media’s eye. This is an age old political trick, dumping bad news late Friday afternoon, but one that has not gone undetected.

The Mormon Church has repeatedly lied about its involvement in California’s Prop 8. Don Eaton, a Mormon Church spokesman, told KGO Television (ABC) in November, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put zero money in this [the passage of Prop. 8].”

Up until Election Day, November 4th, the Mormon Church had only filed one non-monetary contribution, and that was reported just 4 days before the election for a mere $2,078.97. This prompted Fred Karger, Founder of Californians Against Hate www.CaliforniansAgainstHate.com to file a sworn complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Karger hoped that an investigation by the FPPC would determine exactly how much money was really spent by the Salt Lake City based Church on behalf of the Yes on 8 campaign: http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705262980,00.html

Right after the complaint was filed on November 13, 2008 Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the allegations are “false” and the complaint — filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate — has “many errors and misstatements.”
They said that the Church worked closely with its California political attorneys to comply with the law, and that it did not need to file anything further.

Eight days later when the FPPC announced it was launching an investigation into the Church’s expenditures, a Mormon spokesman said that they would send all necessary information to the FPPC for its investigation. Then days later, it switched its position once again, and said that it had complied by all election laws and it did not need to report any money spent, only its members did.

Then on December 1st ProtectMarriage.com – the official Yes on 8 committee –
filed an amended campaign report showing $19,715.08 in legal expenditures made by the Mormon Church way back on June 23rd – 5 months late! This was reported 10 days after the FPPC had announced its investigation.

No other expenditures were reported until last Friday when the Mormon Church filed a Major Donor Report with the Secretary of State for an additional $170,072.18. Most of this was spent during October with 3 small expenditures from September. This included lots of travel expenses with 26 tickets purchased on Southwest Airlines alone. They reported $96,849.31spent on one day (November 4th) in “compensated staff time” that appears was just for Election Day activities.

In its latest campaign report filed over this past weekend for the period October 19th to December 31st, ProtectMarriage.com reported 4 non-monetary contributions from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. The first was dated October 25th for the formerly reported travel expenses of $2078.97, then two on November 1st — one for more travel expenses $2864.21, and $19,715.08 for legal expenses and a final entry for November 3rd for staff salaries of $30,354.83. This totals $55,031.11 and it’s odd that ProtectMarriage.com coincidentally reported all the Church’s contributions after the October 19th cutoff to try and avoid any fines or FPPC penalties for itself. However, the amounts and dates are not the same as those reported by the Mormon Church.

Last June, in his now famous letter read to every Mormon Church, President Monson announced plans for the Church to become extremely active in the Prop 8 campaign Their fundraising took off soon after that. Mormon families were contributing over $300,000 per day by late July and over $500,000 per day by early August. This money kept pouring in though Election Day bringing the total Mormon money to Prop 8 to nearly $25 million: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122186063716658279.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Gary Lawrence, the Mormon Church’s “Grass Roots Coordinator,” started his activities well before he sent out his August 7, 2008 memo posted on his web site: http://yesonprop8.blogspot.com/2008/08/gary-lawrence-grass-roots-coordinator.html It detailed the grassroots Mormon Campaign Plan.

Show us the money!

Where are the rest of your non-monetary expenditures Mormon Church? What about the phone banks, precinct walks, all the slick videos and commercials, direct mail, busses, legal bills from your California political law firm, etc.? They could not all have occurred until late September and October. It is clear that you began your work in June.

And why didn’t ProtectMarraige.com report any earlier non-monetary contributions from the Mormon Church? Their report does not match up with yours.

The California Political Reform Act was passed by the voters 35 years ago and has been very effective in keeping our campaigns honest and fair. It certainly appears to us that the Mormon Church did everything possible to avoid complying with our election law, and only now, after an active investigation is underway by the FPPC (Case # 080735), did it decide to finally report some of its expenditures.

California’s election law is designed to let the voters know exactly where the money is coming from to fund our initiative and candidate campaigns. If the voters of California were aware of the massive expenditures by the Mormon Church prior to voting on November 4th, the results of the close Prop 8 election might have been very different.

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Mormon Church Files Late Campaign Report on Prop 8

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 California’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 the 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.

Jessica.Garrison@latimes.com

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