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FPPC fines Mormon Church


By Julia Rosen

The Mormon Church worked very hard during the Prop 8 campaign to conceal the major role they were playing in the ballot initiatives’ passage. They do not like a lot of attention. The trouble is they went too far and broke campaign finance law.

Back during the campaign they spent a lot of staff time and church resources advocating for Prop 8. Under state law you have to account for the value of that support and report it under campaign disclosure rules. It is what’s known as “in-kind contributions”, but reporting that would have made obvious how much they were doing to help organize all of the field activities and increase fundraising, so they simply didn’t.

But then Fred Karger came along and exposed what they were doing and they filed a late disclosure of their in-kind contributions. Now, a year and a half later the California Fair Political Practices Committee is fining the LDS Church. From HRC’s Back Story blog:

The California Fair Political Practices Committee (FPPC) has proposed a fine [pdf] of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for failing to report all of its late non-monetary contributions in its efforts to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008. While the recommended fine of just more than $5,500 for the unreported late contributions of $36,968 to the Yes on 8 campaign may seem inconsequential, it represents a pattern of blatant disregard for California election laws and provides ongoing evidence that the Mormon Church was a significant leader in the campaign to repeal marriage equality, even while it evaded standard reporting requirements and denied its involvement.

The FPPC is notorious for taking for….ev….er to fine violators of the law. This is essentially a slap on the wrist to the LDS Church, but it ought to serve as a deterrent to pull something like this again. Given what transpired the last campaign, it will be difficult for anyone to hide the work they are doing to oppose equality.

Speaking of not disclosing anti-equality donation information… did you see that NOM just lost another court battle today over their attempts to hide their donors to defeat Question 1 in Maine last fall? They’ve vowed to take it to the Supreme Court, but as of now the stay is lifted and they are supposed to be turning over the names/amounts of those who gave them money to defeat Question 1. I for one can’t wait to see who all is in there. There has to be something juicy, or else they wouldn’t have gone to all of this trouble to break the law and then defend their law breaking.


  • 1. GAYGUY  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

    This is NOT a slap on the wrist…its a slap on a baby toe..underside!! that fine amount is slap in OUR faces is what it is! Why fine them at all! The Prop needs to be overturned because of the lies they spread and the lives they have hurt. THAT is what will keep future elections on the up and up!

  • 2. Ronnie  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

    They lied to the government and they should be punished severely…if this was any average citizen they would have been sent up the river….but nooooooooo

    Shenanigans….tisk tisk….. <3…Ronnie

  • 3. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:34 am

    There is an HTML error in this article: tag A (link to is not closed right before the quote.

  • 4. Kathleen  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I'm going to a screening of "8: The Mormon Proposition" tonight. It opens in select cities around the country on June 18. Click on the "theaters" link on this page to see where it is playing.

    It will also be available as part of cable TV's "on demand" schedule on June 18. The filmakers/distributors are asking people to pack the theaters during the film's run. But if you can't make it to a showing, they remind you that you see it on demand and also ask that you put it on your Netflix queue.

  • 5. couragecampaign  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Fixed. Thanks K!r!lleXXI.


  • 6. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Great, Julia, but now the link itself is gone and doesn't really link to… anymore. :)

  • 7. Chris S  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Well, well. All this huffing and puffing about the "gay agenda", and it's the moral right-wingers who are lying, cheating, and lying with their baggage boys as they would a woman.

    I'd love to see these idiots bankrupted, but I see this as a paper trail contribution that could be worthwhile in the longer run. Having their shady campaign practices on official record kind of calls into question their moral (and legal) credibility.

    Not that I think this would make any difference to the fundies, but it might not be such a bad talking point as far as portraying the Mormon Church as the juggernaut of intolerance that it is.

  • 8. cc  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Does anyone know if they have a petition page to get it played in different cities like they did with "Paranormal Activity?"

  • 9. Kathleen  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:55 am

    They seem very responsive to people on their facebook page:!/8themormonproposition

    It seems they've set up a number of screenings in direct response to requests there, and have provided posters and postcards to people who want to help publicize it.

  • 10. cc  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Thank You Kathleen. Will do, afterall Sacramento must not be forgotten.

  • 11. Kathleen  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:18 am

    So right you are! Are you in the unfortunate district where Pugno's running for Assembly?

  • 12. cc  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Sad to say that travesty is true.

  • 13. Alto  |  June 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Really ? A FINE ? Really ? Why not revoke their tax exempt status ?

  • 14. Carole L Vincent  |  June 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    It's too bad this took so long and the fine is so small. I bet it won't even get news coverage?

  • 15. Lynn Elwood  |  June 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    It got news coverage in Utah. As I read the news release, it appears that the fine may be related only to failing to timely report their non-monetary contributions. Does anyone know if this recommended fine will close the full investigation, or if it is only for the fact that they waited until the final deadline to report on-going contributions?

  • 16. Richard A. Walter (s  |  June 9, 2010 at 12:33 am

    It is very appropriate that both the LDS hierarchy and NOM have lost these battles, because it is one thing to practice morality, but quite another to codify into law the morality of one religious group over another. When will these groups realize that their right to religious freedom includes the right of my religion to disagree with their religion? What will it take before they realize that freedom of religious expression is for all of us, not just one particular denomination or one particular congregation within that denomination?

  • 17. JDinSeattle  |  June 9, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Can't wait to see this either. We here in Washington state are eagerly anticipating the SCOTUS' ruling on Doe vs Reed, where they are trying to keep the signatures hidden on Referendum 71. Cowards!

  • 18. Sock Puppets and Sugar Da&hellip  |  July 31, 2010 at 11:02 am

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  • 19. Rick Jacobs: Sock Puppets&hellip  |  July 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

    […] for the ballot. What do these two organizations have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out. NOM is under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failure to disclose contributors to […]

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    […] is under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failure to disclose contributors to […]

  • 21. Movie Review: ‘8: T&hellip  |  February 4, 2011 at 4:54 am

    […] are still more likely to oppose legalizing gay marriage than support it? Is it the likelihood that┬áthe Mormon Church will never be asked to answer for its involvement in this and other political campaigns? Or is it the┬árecent uptick in antigay legislators in the […]

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