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New Evidence Mormon Church Illegally Contributed to Yes on 8

Video and audio of Mormon leaders discussing a ‘war plan’ to pass Prop 8 with specific references to costly video ads, mailers and websites the Church created has surfaced, lending new credence to the argument that LDS leaders illegally dipped into their own finances to fund the effort to outlaw gay marriage in California.

Pretty stunning stuff by the American News Project. The church’s role in the campaign is currently under investigation in California. Watch the whole report after the jump.

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Jan 15, 2009
Tagged: , , ,
  • 11 Comments
    • seitan-on-a-stick
      seitan-on-a-stick

      No Tax-exemption status for LDS. Where is the ACLU?

      Jan 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      @seitan-on-a-stick:

      Why should the ACLU get involved in this? The Church of LDS has a ton of cash available to defend itself.

      Jan 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Johnny
      Johnny

      Is anyone else seeing Mormon art banner at the top of this page? Seriously Queerty??

      Jan 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      Johnny: it’s a google ad triggered by a keyword, like “Mormon” or “LDS.” it’s not like they bought an ad with Japhy.

      and the ACLU would be more likely to defend an org’s right to speech, btw, then they would sue to revoke tax-exemption. (probably lacks standing to sue, anyway.) they’re not just liberal watchdogs.

      Jan 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      There were three cults, the mormons, roman catholics and southern baptists (represented in large part by Obama’s not so strange political bedmate Warren) who spearheaded, along with Obama “god’s in the mix” bullshit, the Prop 8 attack on our right to same sex marriage.

      All three cults should be investigated and lose their tax exempt status. And we should demand the cancellation and repayment of any bribes given these cults disguised as ‘faith based’ ‘charitable’ funding.

      Then we can discuss criminal charges and back taxes.

      A progressive would carry out that sort of program but Obama’s in bed with them so he won’t. Seitan-on-a-stick was a major cheerleader for Obama who couldn’t tell the difference between a progressive and right winger. Now seitan-on-a-stick wants to pretend that he’s not as right wing as Obama. It’s a bit too late.

      Jan 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      Bill Perdue, put down the torch and pitchfork, please. Obama isn’t even mentioned in this post.

      Jan 16, 2009 at 12:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @dgz: I know. That’s why I mentioned his role in passing Prop 8.

      Jan 16, 2009 at 12:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • untrue
      untrue

      the church is talking about what the “yes on 8″ campaign would have available as resources (website, call centers, posters). understand the details before you splice together your propaganda.

      Jan 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Adams
      John Adams

      Your article is a classic example of yellow journalism. Instead of accurately informing your readers you engage in an effort to distort, twist, and leave out relevant information to present a sensationalized story when there is none.

      Your “new evidence”, “a piece of evidence that may expose a gaping hole in the Mormon financial accounting” is nothing new. The video of the satellite broadcast has been on the LDS website since a few days after the broadcast.

      Why did your commentary not state that per IRS regulation church communications to their members on issues like Prop 8 do not pose any violation of tax exempt status?

      You state that the Mormon Church is presenting “two contradicting stories”. One that the church only contributed a little over $2,000 to the campaign and the other that the church did not contribute money to the campaign. The written data you showed is correct but your statement that these are contradicting stories is false. Your own pictures show a form where the church is filing a report that they contribute “IN- KIND” donation of $2,078.97. Please note that an IN-KIND donation is not a monetary donation. You then show an excerpt from a church spokesman where it is stated that the church did not contribute MONEY to the campaign. There are no contradicting stories, only your misleading attempts to make a contradiction where none exists.

      You state that the Church bankrolled 70% of Prop 8 funding which you know is false because contributions were made by people directly to the Protect Marriage organization, not to the Mormon Church. There is no violation of tax exempt status for members of a church to contribute to a political cause. It is a constitutional right to do so. Why did you not present that information?

      Legal reporting of contributions (including in-kind) is not done at one time in one report. It is normal and required by law to make periodic filings and making amendments is all part of providing accurate information.

      You then go on to combine activities that the church made to communicate with it’s members about Prop 8 (no tax exempt status violation here) and activities of member working for the Protect Marriage as items that the Church is suppose to be reporting as contributions. Why did you not accurately present that these are not reportableby the church?

      Your voice over states that IRS tax codes prohibit churches from participating in any political campaign. That is a false statement. You need to read the tax code text you showed. Churches are prohibited from participating in any political campaign ON BEHALF OF ANY CANDIDATE. That is a key point which you changed in order to paint the Mormon Church as violating the law when it is not.

      You do point out that churches are prohibited from engaging in substantial lobbying activity. The tax code does allow tax exempt churches to take positions on public policy issues and to lobby for them as long as they do not reach the “substantial” threshold. You then present people who state that the IRS has not defined what amounts to “substantial”. There has been case law defining “substantial”. You should have cited what Barry Lynn, executive director of “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” and an opponent of Prop 8 had to say. “They almost certainly have not violated their tax exemption…While the tax code has a zero tolerance for endorsements of candidates, the tax code gives wide latitude for churches to engage in discussions of policy matters and moral questions, including when posed as initiatives.” The 20 percent threshold means that the Catholic or Mormon churches, whose organizations span the globe, would have had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars—if not billions—to violate their tax-exempt status.” (SFGate Nov 28, 2008).

      Jan 17, 2009 at 2:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TJ Pierce
      TJ Pierce

      Wow John! That response was the best investigative reporting I’ve read on Queerty ever. Thanks for taking the time and actually doing research.

      Jan 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Japhy Grant
      Japhy Grant

      @John Adams: @TJ Pierce: Well guys, the story is by The American News Project, not Queerty and the church is currently under investigation for illegally contributing to the campaign by the State of California– who will decide whether the contributions were “substantial” or not.

      Jan 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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