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Mormon church reports spending $180,000 on Proposition 8

January 30, 2009 |  5:51 pm

Top officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed reports today 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

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