Tuesday, June 8, 2010

LDS Church Agrees To Pay California FPPC A $5,539 Fine For Late Reporting Of Proposition 8-Related Contributions To Protect Marriage Coalition

On June 8th, 2010, the Deseret News reports that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has agreed to pay a $5,539 fine levied by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for the alleged late reporting of some of the Church's contributions to the Protect Marriage Coalition to get Proposition 8 passed in 2008. Additional stories published by the Salt Lake Tribune, KTVX Channel 4, and KSL Channel 5.

As the state agency for interpreting and enforcing California's campaign finance rules, the FPPC identified 13 instances of non-monetary late contributions made and not timely reported — or the church failing to file daily reports detailing $36,928 in in-kind contributions, including the cost of staff time spent by church employees to help the "Yes on 8" committee. This issue is scheduled to be on the agenda for a June 10th meeting by the FPPC for final approval of the settlement.

In a statement issued by the LDS Church, they acknowledged sloppy bookkeeping, which is not infrequent considering the Byzantine complexity of campaign reporting requirements nowadays, but denied any attempt to deliberately misrepresent their contributions:

All institutional contributions made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Protect Marriage Coalition were reported to the appropriate authorities in California.

In the last two weeks leading up to the election, the Church mistakenly overlooked the daily reporting requirement and instead reported those contributions together in a later filing. The Church appreciates the fairness and consideration with which the Fair Political Practices Commission has addressed this oversight.

Claims that the Church misrepresented its contributions to the Protect Marriage Coalition are false.

The Tribune reports that Fred Karger, who filed the original complaint with the commission, said that the fine validates his allegations that the LDS Church tried to cover up its role in banning same-sex marriage in California. "They have absolutely every right -- as any religious organization, any individual, any business owner, union, whomever -- to be involved," he said. "But they must comply with the law if they are going to be involved in politics. That's what they've been covering up." Karger then added, "My fervent hope is they will get out of this business and go help earthquake victims in Chile or something, but get out of peoples' lives and denying their happiness". Karger is the founder of "Californians Against Hate" and is himself a homosexual.

Joe Solmonese, the president of the homosexual-supremacist Human Rights Campaign, also accuses the Church of intentionally covering their tracks, saying "It's just not credible that a multibillion-dollar, sophisticated organization like the LDS Church didn't know or understand the election-law requirements. California requires early disclosure so voters know who's behind these referendum fights and, clearly, the Mormon Church worked overtime to keep their full involvement hidden from the people of California."

Once again, the LDS Church denies any intended "cover-up".

In 2009, the LDS Church said its total contributions to "Yes on 8" tallied $189,903.58 -- all non-monetary, in-kind contributions such as video production from its studios, church employee time and airfare and lodging costs for church leaders traveling to California for campaign efforts. In all, those contributions were a mere drop in the bucket, totaling less than one percent of the total of $43.3 million raised by Proposition 8 proponents. Opponents raised $39.9 million.

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