Friday, November 14, 2008

A Pro Gay Non Profit Say LDS Church Didn't Report Non Financial Contributions

Californians Against Hate, an independent nonprofit organization committed to shining the spotlight on hefty donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, on Thursday upped the ante against the LDS Church. The group filed a complaint with California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), alleging The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report nonmonetary contributions that helped pass the measure, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Fred Karger, the advocacy organization's founder, wrote in a letter to the FPPC and attorneys general Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California and Mark Shurtleff of Utah that the church "has been highly secretive about its massive involvement in the campaign, but we managed to piece together evidence of some of their more visible activities done directly to communicate with California voters."

Karger said by phone from Los Angeles that he and others had been monitoring contributions to support this campaign since July 1. He alleges that their research shows 59,000 Mormon families ponied up more than $22 million to the cause, amounting to 77 percent of funds raised. "I know what things cost," said Karger, a retired political consultant with nearly 30 years experience. "I'm convinced huge expenditures were made that, for whatever reason, went unreported - which is not in keeping with California law."

But LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter issued a strong response, saying the church "fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act," relied on advice from experienced California counsel and made no violations when it came to reporting expenditures. In fact, he added in a written statement, the LDS Church "filed four reports with California authorities; these reports are a matter of public record. A further report will be filed on or before its due date, Jan. 30, 2009. . . . The so-called 'sworn complaint' filed by Fred Karger with California and Utah authorities has many errors and misstatements. Any investigation would confirm the Church's full compliance with applicable law."

The evidence Karger claims to have gathered points to unreported investments to organize phone banks in Utah and Idaho, send out direct mailers, provide transportation to California including travel by LDS Church leaders, mobilize a speakers bureau, develop Web sites, produce "at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts" and a couple of satellite simulcasts spanning five states. He said the church stepped over the line when communication stopped being just between members. At that point, he said, he believes reporting nonmonetary activity should have been required, which is why he turned the complaint over to FPPC, a group he described as the "political watchdog of California." Roman Porter, executive director of FPPC, said from his Sacramento office that the commission had not yet seen the complaint but explained that upon its receipt, "We have 14 days to notify the person making the complaint of what our intended action is - whether we will investigate or not, or issue a warning letter."

Any actions by the commission will depend on whether it decides to pursue an investigation. Karger said regardless of how the FPPC rules, he feels standing up for equal rights, including the ability to marry, is "for the best" and will help the LDS Church learn to "recognize and love everyone regardless of sexual orientation." "We've turned a corner . . . We're fighting back," he continued. "They've awakened Godzilla." by SL Trib.
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Karger has no idea of who he's up against here. This is a matter that will be settled in the courts and with all of the Mormon lawyers that there are in the country you'll see a sleeping giant awakened when push comes to shove.

4 comments:

  1. NO Clint, YOU don't realize...if the church can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. The church is not a victim--they targeted on group. The church brought this on by trying to take away peoples rights—which are not—or should not—be up for majority vote. So what’s next...maybe we should protect marriage by keeping Utah from being a divorce mill state....or how about banning all divorce in general....OR or Or lets keep Wiccans from marrying...or Atheist...or...
    Maybe the LDS community needs to focus on being pro-life, In my 33 years I have never seen the church become politically involved in abortion. THAT is more important that this issue ever could be, as stopping gay marriage doesn’t stop people from being gay…get a clue…

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  2. Has anyone actually looked at the Church's disclosure forms?

    Karger's claims are pretty specific, and I assume he wouldn't file the complaint without having looked at what the Church filed and what evidence he has (of course I could be wrong).

    To my memory this is the largest political involvement that the Church has undertaken since the Equal Rights Amendment (assuming this isn't larger).

    I realize that the Church's legal team may be able to find a way to defeat the claim.

    What's more interesting to me is, could the Church have made an error in its reporting?

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  3. Take a breath, it will help.

    Gay marrige was law for a few months because 4 judges decided it should be law. The people of the State of California disagreed with those judges and so now it is no longer legal. So you're saying that judges can give rights, but the people are not allowed to take those rights away.

    While it's nice that you have some suggestions for the LDS church, perhaps they are better suited to decide what's most important to them. Or is that not their right as well?

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  4. Amen anon.

    The undertones of this backlash have a sterotypical abuser mentalitiy. "You brought this on yourself - you're making me hurt you."

    What these extremests want is not democracy - they only want their way. And in their skewed view of reality, only that is democracy.

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