Thursday, November 13, 2008

Complaint against Mormon church filed to the California Fair Political Practices Commission

Excerpts of an AP article titled "Mormon aid on gay marriage ban generates complaint" by Lisa Leff

A California gay rights activist filed a complaint Thursday accusing the Mormon church of failing to report the full value of the work it did to support the state's new ban on same-sex marriage.

Fred Karger, the founder of Californians Against Hate, submitted the complaint to the enforcement division of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the agency that regulates campaign activity.

Karger alleges that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ran out-of-state phone banks, produced commercials and provided other services that must be reported as contributions to the Proposition 8 campaign.

Karger also notified the attorneys general of California and Utah, where the Mormon church is based.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said the church has complied with all campaign finance laws and is confident an investigation would prove that.

Last month, the church reported making an in-kind donation of $2,078.97 to the coalition of faith organizations and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that overturned the state Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. It's the only donation listed under the church's name in support of the measure.

The Fair Political Practices Commission has 14 days to respond to Karger's allegations. The agency could decide to open an investigation, to warn the party named in the complaint or conclude no action is needed, according to commission spokesman Roman Porter.

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