Posted February 19, 2009 08:04 PM (EST)
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Mormongate: Public's Help Sought
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) finally turned in a very late Major Donor campaign report on its Prop 8 spending to the California Secretary of State two weeks ago. According to their filing, the Mormon Church spent $190,000 on behalf of the Yes on Prop 8 campaign to end gay marriage in California. This filing was a good beginning, but there is no telling how much they really spent. According to their report, nearly all of their spending took place during the last week of the campaign.
The First Presidency of the Mormon Church, Thomas Monson announced their active participation back on June 29th and that's when the Mormon Prop 8 Campaign went into full swing. They raised upwards of $30 million from their members, ran all the Yes on 8 advertising, set up the biggest door-to-door statewide voter outreach effort that California may have ever seen, ran phone banks in California and several other states, created an elaborate web site with 13 very slick commercials and videos, bussed in thousands of people from Utah and sent out lots of direct mail.
The Church finally reported spending $190,000 in non-monetary contributions when it filed its very late financial disclosure report on January 30, 2009 -- 3 months after election day.
We know that all of this activity did not take place just during the last seven days of the campaign. There appears to be lots of financial information missing on the report that the Mormon Church belatedly filed.
Where is the money that they spent during the summer and early fall?
They only reported spending $1,100 in September? Much of even what they reported is still very late. And a Church spokesperson even told the Salt Lake Tribune just last week that the $96,000 in staff salaries they reported for November 4, 2008 really covered Church salaries going all the way back to August 2008. It sure is not reported that way.
It appears to us that there is a cover-up. Mormon Church leaders have not told the whole story of their massive financial involvement on behalf of Californian's Prop 8. That is way we are calling this Mormongate.
The point of campaign finance reporting laws is for the voters to have all the information on who gave how much before they vote. The Mormon Church clearly tried to hide its financial participation until well after all the votes were cast.
We Need Your Help.
If you have any information on Mormon Church spending anywhere in the country that occurred during the summer and fall leading up to the November 4th election, please let us know.
We have set up a toll free tip line and email address for people to contact us with any tips on what campaign activities the Mormon Church conducted that might not have been included in their report to the California Secretary of State.
Toll Free Tip Line: 800-495-9356
Tip email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know of phone banks set up at Mormon Churches, mailers sent out, meetings held or any other information regarding the Church's spending on Prop 8, please let us know. Any information that you want to pass along with be kept strictly confidential and will be used to file a second complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The FPPC is in the middle of an active investigation of the Mormon Church right now. Californians Against Hate filed its first complaint on November 13, 2008 which led to their investigation.
All we ask for is transparency. We hope that the Mormon Church will comply with the California election law and tell us exactly how much money they spent to take away the rights of millions of Californians.
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