ONTD Political

Mormons admit Larger role in California's Prop. 8 campaign

11:43 am - 02/02/2009
The Mormon church has revealed in a campaign filing that the church spent nearly $190,000 to help pass Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California.

The disclosure comes amid an investigation by the state's campaign watchdog agency into whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints violated state laws by not fully disclosing its involvement during the campaign.

While many church members had donated directly to the Yes on 8 campaign – some estimates of Mormon giving range as high as $20 million – the church itself had previously reported little direct campaign activity.

But in the filing made Friday, the Mormon church reported thousands in travel expenses, such as airline tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals for the campaign. The church also reported $96,849.31 worth of compensated staff time hours that church employees spent working to pass the same-sex marriage ban.

As I read this report, it seems to raise more questions than it answers," said Fred Karger, who filed the initial complaint against the church with the Fair Political Practices Commission in November.

Karger, the founder of Californians Against Hate, a group that opposed the measure, said he believes the church was involved financially long before the first expenditure it listed in September.

I think there is still a lot of missing parts of the report because we know they've been active since June, Karger said.

Mormon church officials could not be reached Saturday for comment.

Roman Porter, executive director of the FPPC, confirmed that the agency was investigating the complaint against the church but declined comment on specifics.

The Yes on 8 campaign filed its own expenditure reports over the weekend revealing that the main arm of the campaign spent more than $39.2 million. Total spending among the various proponents topped $41 million.

Opponents of the measure had not filed their disclosure statement as of Saturday. The deadline for year-end statements is midnight Monday.

The Mormon church's involvement in Proposition 8 touched off controversy both during and after the campaign.

Many gay marriage advocates saw the church and its membership's efforts as crucial to the passage of Proposition 8. The measure won with 52 percent of the vote, a margin of 600,000 votes.

Following the election, church leaders in the Sacramento region hired extra security to guard a Mormon temple in Folsom. Ten local church buildings were vandalized in the two weeks following the Nov. 4 vote.

Some individual Mormons were targeted for their support of Proposition 8, as well. Scott Eckern, an LDS member, resigned as artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento in November after a $1,000 donation he made to the Yes on 8 campaign was made public. There were similar cases elsewhere in the state.

The Yes on 8 campaign petitioned a federal court to withhold disclosure of late donors, citing such harassment. But the judge ruled last week the donors must be disclosed.

The court finds the state is not facilitating retaliation by compelling disclosure, U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. said in his decision Thursday.

Jeff Flint, a strategist for the Yes on 8 campaign, downplayed the latest financial filing that details the Mormon church's efforts to ban gay marriage.

I don't think anybody beyond rabid opponents of Proposition 8 will consider it newsworthy to find out that leaders of the Mormon church spent time on the campaign, Flint said.

He noted that the church was both public and vocal about its support for the same-sex marriage ban.

Flint said the Mormon church's reported direct spending amounted to half of 1 percent of all campaign expenditures.

All told, Proposition 8 was the most expensive ballot fight last November. It is considered the most expensive campaign over a social issue in history.

And it could all be repeated as early as next year, as some gay marriage advocates are pressing efforts to legalize same-sex
marriage in a 2010 ballot campaign if court efforts to overturn Proposition 8 are unsuccessful.

mylaptopisevil 2nd-Feb-2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
"I don't think anybody beyond rabid opponents of Proposition 8 will consider it newsworthy to find out that leaders of the Mormon church spent time on the campaign," Flint said.

Actually, the IRS just wants your dollah dollah bills, ya'll.
honeymane 2nd-Feb-2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
How to fix the economy.

1) take away the various Mega church's and other religious organizations that are always involving themselves in politics.

2) collect all the back taxes that they should have been paying, had they not be classified falsely as tax-exempt organizations.

3) ????

dwer 2nd-Feb-2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
tripmeup 2nd-Feb-2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
so ~shocking~
bfunkified 2nd-Feb-2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
i'm shocked....that mormons have got that much money with as many kids as they all (seem to) have... oh wait, they get it all from their TLC TV shows.
schonste 2nd-Feb-2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
lol wtf that's a stupid thing to say
spiffystuff 2nd-Feb-2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Seriously Mormons, how can you people be so nice, and your church so stupid??

/blanket statement
bobrhyn 2nd-Feb-2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
schonste 2nd-Feb-2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Take away their fucking tax exempt status.
thevelvetsun 2nd-Feb-2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
celtic_thistle 2nd-Feb-2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
le_zokita 2nd-Feb-2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
It's not surprising at all to me, but geez. Don't they have better things to spend their money on?
sunoftheskye 2nd-Feb-2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
Sad isn't it? Spending this much money to ruin other people's lives.
jimmyblue 2nd-Feb-2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Of fucking course.

You couldn't have spent that money on a worthier cause, Mormons? You know that there are people starving, right?
pinksta_r 2nd-Feb-2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
I read that too fast and thought it said Morons. Turns out it did anyway.
bushy_brow 2nd-Feb-2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
requinnn 2nd-Feb-2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
It upsets me that this much money is wasted on suppressing the rights of citizens when it could be used to feed hungry children, help schools, or pretty much anything else that would actually benefit our society.
___closetome 2nd-Feb-2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
God Bless America.
shuraiya 2nd-Feb-2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, snap!
shirozora 2nd-Feb-2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
That money could have been spent on actual charity.

I have a feeling Jesus would disapprove of these shenanigans.
eyetosky 2nd-Feb-2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
and then he'd give Judas another big ole kiss. :D
koalafrog 2nd-Feb-2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
tribulation 2nd-Feb-2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
Stupid cult-fucks.
cherrynorth 2nd-Feb-2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
when I read the title, I thought at first that it said "Morons admit Larger role in California's Prop. 8 campaign" and I was like "WELL NO SHIT MORONS WERE INVOLVED."
bestdaywelived 3rd-Feb-2009 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm more interested in how much money the Catholic Church donated. Anyone have the info on that?

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