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Mormon Church Confesses to $190,000 More Prop 8 Expenses

rainbow-tabernaclethumbnail.thumbnail.jpgIn a Friday filing with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, the Mormon Church listed almost $190,000 in previously unreported expenses in support of last year’s successful campaign to eliminate marriage equality 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. 

It seems as if the complaint filed with the FPPC by Californians Against Hate was not as specious as the Mormons initially charged:

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.

In other words, the Mormon Church had no intention of modifying their expense reporting until pressed by Californians Against Hate and the subsequent — and ongoing — FPPC investigation.

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.

Here’s what the FPPC must find out: what else is the Mormon Church hiding? They have lied throughout this process about their huge and substantive contributions to the Proposition 8 campaign. They have disparaged those who asked them to tell the truth.  They have scoffed at the state’s investigation into their expenditures.

What will make them tell the whole truth if not a far-reaching disgorgement-required investigation?  It’s long past time to send a crack team of forensic accountants to Salt Lake City and demand complete access to the Church’s books.

It’s time for Californians to know the truth — how much money did the Mormon Church actually spend to overturn marriage equality?

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Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge