The Fair Political Practices Commission of California (FPPC) announced on March 23 that it would investigate accusations that the Mormon Church illegally failed to report all financial contributions made in the battle over Proposition 8.
The investigation was approved after independent nonprofit organization Californians Against Hate filed complaints that the LDS Church failed to report non-monetary contributions and funds used to develop websites, create commercials and video broadcasts, send out mass mail, transport supporters to California, organize phone banks and more. Besides California, Utah donated more money to Proposition 8 efforts than any other state, with around 70 percent of the funds supporting the cause.
The complaints also suggest that the LDS Church created a front group, the National Organization for Marriage, in order to push its agenda in California. A church spokesman told the Salt Lake Tribune the new charges “have no basis in fact,” and said all contributions made toward the ballot measure were correctly reported.
Fred Karger, head of Californians Against Hate, noted that the charges were also based on recently leaked memos from the LDS Church regarding the same-sex marriage debate in Hawaii in the 1990s. Karger believes the memos confirm strong tactical similarities in the way the LDS Church approached Proposition 8.
The documents, posted on a Californians Against Hate website, Mormongate.com, reveal supposed details of the Church’s secretive strategy for fighting same-sex marriage and its effort to cover up its full involvement and financial backing for that endeavor. Though the Church has not commented definitively on the documents, National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown recently called Karger “ridiculous,” according to The Sacramento Bee. The investigation continues.