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Mormon church reports spending $180,000 on Proposition 8

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

Comments () | Archives (65)

It's wrong because they initially LIED about reporting it, just like they always do when something comes up that may make them look bad. If they had reported it when and where they were supposed to in the beginning, it wouldn't even be an issue now. They're only reporting it now because some heat has been applied. The regular Mormon has no idea how morally corrupt their leadership can be when it comes to protecting the church. For some reason the leadership always think they'll get away with it, and most of the time they do at the local level. This includes past leadership as well. This is just a small taste of how they cover up and lie.

Gee, wasn't it only $2800 they initially reported? There is a pretty big gap between $2800 and $180,000. Think they just 'forgot' about that, or didn't believe it needed to be reported? Hmmm...

Half of which was simply traveling for meetings and having dinners. No one should get mad there.

church leaders fly to California very routinely...They probably just reported every flight, as the leaders might have said something (and probably did) about prop 8 while they were there for other reasons.

The other half they simply used their resources (employees, mainly) to support the work of volunteers on the ground.

Not one penny...except the previously reported $2000+, ever went to protect Marriage.com, or any other sponsor. The Volunteer man-hours in Utah alone surely was worth more than these employees.

The reason it wasn't originally filed is that it wasn't a traditional donation--it was just using resources.

I'm just curious how all of you would feel if a tax-exempt gay and lesbian organization spent $180,000 of members' money to support a successful ballot initiative that, for example, banned Mormons from holding public office.

Would you fight this in court as a violation of your civil right? I would hope so.

Would you speak out against the gay and lesbian organization that did so? I would hope so.

Would you question whether or not it's ethical to use tax-exempt money to directly influence a legislative process (which the CA initiative process is)? I would hope so.

Would you say, "Well, the people have spoken, that's democracy, I'll quietly abide by it"? I would hope not.

The freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution -- including the religious freedom of fringe religions like the Latter Day Saints -- only stand if we all take a firm stance that we must all be equals in the eyes of the law, and let the debates about morality continue without legal interference.

Calamity Kate: That depends on one's perpective. For example, you may think gays are "perverted", right-wing evangelicals may think you're a "fake religion" or a "cult which threathens true Christianity"; how about you Mormons complain about this?
I'll take your words as mine: I'd pay top dollar to sit in the front row for that demonstration of freedom of speech. What do you think of this challenge?

It's amazing to me that there is so much hate on either side of the issue. I'm highly disappointed with the majority of posters for the nastiness and the derrogatory finger pointing either direction. It makes me shake my head.

Let Truth prevail - and the American system find it.. and let all the bickering, nastiness, name calling, attacking, and targetting on either end please.

It would seem that the right wing conseravtive movement wants America to adopt a Middle easrten Style Government where religion dictates the thoughts and actions of people. For 233 years we have fought aganst this all around the world. I know some are uncomfortable with same sex relationships. So what. There is nothing in our laws that says you can legislate your bias. In the revolutionary war the conservatives were on the side of the British. In the Cilvil war they wanted to keep slaves. In the last century they did not want Women to vote and they fought to keep black people in segragation, and tried to stop them from Voting too. Conservatives have fought against the founding fathers, the constitution and against every American Ideal and have lost every time. We were even attacked on Septemeber 11, 2001 by right wing conservative religious types screaming glory to the god they say is suprior to the God these American Chistains rage for, and they say, makes them superior to gay persons. These poeple seek to devide, inspire violence, murder, hate and create evil. They know all about all, just ask them. They allways loose, allways have and allways will. Conservatives have eventually lost every battle since the day Christ was born. They even killed Jesus himself for goodness sakes. Stand firm against them. Never give up. This is American, not Iran. The Mormans and the Chatholics dont have the power the Taliban has, even know they are fighting for it. You have a clear choice. You stand with good, with freedom, or you stand with the darkness extreme religion wants to force America into. Just like the Middle East. If you think religion and governemnt is such a great idea, then move to Iran.

Isn't the guy movemont a religon in of itsself. How much did the organization spend again on no on prop 8 ? Should they have something taken away being a religon as well ?????

"The voters spoke. Majority wins. That's democracy."

You can't have a majority vote on an issue that involves a group of minorities civil rights. It's unconstitutional.

Whether they broke any laws or not will come out in the wash. It doesn't negate the value of what they were doing. Prop 8 is a valid and good proposition no matter who supports of doesn't support it. Look at who supported Obama...some of the worst people in the world.

I'm amazed by the number of ignorant and hateful comments about gay people here. I thought we were a nation founded on a belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many of these haters write about gay people as if they knew what they were talking about. They don't.

What a bunch of uninformed morons. Honestly, do a little research before you spout off some opinion without knowing the facts.
1) Corporations (including churches) can actively lobby for or against PROPOSITIONS in California as part of the political process. They can legally and rightly state their opinions and campaign any way they like for PROPOSITIONS. Not for a candidate but for a PROPROSITION. They are subject to the same campaign donation reporting laws as the rest of us, which leads to . .

2) There are only 3 deadlines for campaign donation reporting. 1st is in July if you've donated more than 10,000 dollars the first half of the year - the LDS Church probably only donated the 2000 widely reported at that time. The second is January 31 for donations made the 2nd half of the year - and voila, they reported on time. 3rd, is a special reporting anytime 1000 or more in cumulative donations are given the last 16 days prior to the election. The "Late Contribution Reports" are due within 24 hours of the donation. The LDS Church probably didn't expend any of it effort the last 16 days to avoid this type of PITA reporting. The satelite broadcast was the beginning of October.

So you can complain that churches shouldn't be tax exempt - fine you hate religion.

You can disagree with the LDS Church and 52.4% of Californians whether gays should marry or not, but that debate will go for a while - it doesn't change the legality of the LDS Church or it's activtivism.

You can be an idiot and claim that the money should be spent elsewhere - ask the folks in New Orleans, or Florida, or San Diego - who were the first folks on the ground to help clean up the mess after Katrina, Andrew or the fires - the Mormons in their yellow shirts.

Don't be an uninformed moron - do a little research - open your eyes and your mind. . .idiot.

You Californians have opened Pandora's box and voted our rights away. Now, no right is inalienable any more. Including your precious right to amend the Constitution.

It really makes me mad that people think it is ok to discriminate just because voters said so. Voters also used to think it was ok to keep black kids and white kids in separate schools. Clearly it is wrong!!!!!

The issue here is that the LDS church is tax exempt. If they want to be a political PAC that is fine, but then they need to follow tax law regarded political PAC's.

And the fact they did NOT disclose the amount they spent as required to do.

Usually people try and hide things like this when they know they broke a law. It has been pressed and they couldn't hide it.

No more free rides for the Christian Taliban.

Ignorant fools! And pathetic reporting by the LA Times. Does anyone bother doing a bit of research before making ignorant claims about a church's 501(c)3 status?

Oh no, $180,000 in IN-KIND contributions...busted! HA! A 501(c)3 can donate up to $1 Million in direct contribution, never mind this in-kind nonsense. The CA Teachers Association's $1 Million donation to No on 8 is a perfect example. And do you think all of the TCA's 340,000 due-paying members support gay-marriage? The ones who should really be pissed are the CTA members who defend the time-honored definition of marriage and who un-willingly donated to No on 8.

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