Faced with an ongoing investigation by California's Fair Political Practices Commission, mormon church officials reluctantly admitted that they failed to report almost $200,000 in campaign contributions to the Yes On 8 campaign.
According to San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate:
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.
The Commission's investigation was prompted by a lawsuit filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, which is a group opposed to the same-sex marriage ban.
Karger's suit, filed on Nov. 13, 2008, alleged that the Mormon church had produced radio and television commercials, set up Web sites, conducted simulcasts and sent church leaders to California to support Prop 8 and never reported any of these contributions as required by law.
SFGate reported that all the way up until their recent admission last Friday, the Mormon church consistently denied any direct financial support for the campaign beyond a reported $2,078 spent for bringing church Elder L. Whitney Clayton to California.
In fact, when notified of the investigation, Mormon church officials grumbled that Karger's complaint was full of errors and that the church had "fully complied" with California law. Clearly, they knew they were lying. But then, that's nothing new for the Mormon church. Their dishonesty throughout the Prop 8 campaign was staggering.
I wouldn't be surprised if the real amount that the church itself spent on that campaign turned out to be much, much more than the $190,000 they were forced to report last Friday. And that's not even counting the millions of dollars that were donated by individual mormons who were "encouraged" by their revered leaders to send their hard-earned money to the Yes On 8 campaign - even though many of them couldn't really afford it.
I really hope the commission does a lot more than just give them a half-hearted little slap on the wrist.
My thanks also to Queers United and Box Turtle Bulletin for information in this story.