Monday, March 23, 2009

New Charges Filed Against Mormon Church

By Julie Bolcer

The California group that in November charged the Mormon Church with failing to report the full extent of its financial involvement in Proposition 8 added to its complaint on Thursday. Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed charges with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, accusing the church of creating the National Organization for Marriage as a front group for its efforts in the state, and of failing to report the costs as required by law.

The National Organization for Marriage was one of the leading political action committees involved in the successful campaign to ban same-sex marriage. Supporters of the ban raised more than $40 million.

Karger based his new charges on memos leaked by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that show similarities between the battle in California and a campaign fought against same-sex marriage in Hawaii in the 1990s.

The amended complaint also charges that the LDS Church underreported non-monetary contributions to the Prop. 8 campaign such as compensated staff time for church officials and funds for TV and Web commercial production.

A spokesman for the church denied the charges. A statement from the church says that the church did not establish the National Organization for Marriage and that all contributions "are a matter of public record."

The California Fair Political Practices Commission continues its investigation.

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