The LDS Church Contributed $190,000 in “In-kind” Donations to Prop 8

UPDATE: I corrected the figures in this post now that we have the actual amounts. I will post a reprint of the LDS Church’s clarification of news stories about the issue.

On Friday the LDS Church filed a report outlining their contributions to the Prop 8 campaign in California. They spent $190,000 (a GLBT site reports the amount was “more than $190 thousand.” Notice how the amount creeps upward as sites become more pro-homosexual. Note: I don’t know what the actual amount is; news sites have just been rounding the number – some up and some down). $96,000 of that was spent paying some church employees for their time (e.g., designing a website or things like that). The rest came from flying church officials to California (and putting them in hotels and renting cars and similar expenses). The Church did not donate any money directly. When a complaint was filed against the Church in November 2008, the LDS Church stated they would be making all required declarations by the time they were legally required to. They were not required by law to declare their contributions until February 2, 2009.

The articles I linked to generally do not give the LDS Church the benefit of the doubt (searching the related headlines in Google News reveals such biased gems as “Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight”). The news bias is not surprising given that all 10 major California newspapers editorialized against Prop 8. Only the SF Chronicle even bothers to mention the Feb. 2 deadline for reporting contributions. However, those who filed the complaint against the Church believe that the Church was required to report their contributions earlier.

The Yes on 8 campaign spent $39.2 million out of a total of about $41 million spent (Source). Older estimates had supporters of Prop 8 spending $35.8 million with opponents spending $37.6 million (Source). We’ll see what the revised number is once opponents of Prop 8 declare all their contributions (it is likely higher than the $41 million spent to support Prop 8). While LDS Church members donated a sizable portion of the money spent to support Prop 8 (possibly as high as $20 million – but those are estimates are by anti-Prop 8 groups and so may be on the high end of the actual amount), the LDS Church as an entity donated a whopping 0.45% of the total money spent to support Prop 8!

True, individual LDS Church members might have donated 50% of the money spent in support of Prop 8 (again, this is based on unofficial estimates) but church members who donated are citizens and are allowed to donate however they want to. Hollywood celebrities contributed large of amounts of money to fight Prop 8 (for example, Brad Pitt donated $100,000). At least churches are Constitutionally-protected entities unlike Hollywood. The LDS Church encouraged time and money donations but never forced anyone to donate. It’s ironic how some who “fight against hate” hate the LDS Church so much. Where are all the complaints against entities who made anti-Prop 8 contributions?

Showing their intense hatred of hate, Californians Against Hate has a “Dishonor Roll” that includes people who donated more than $5000 to support Prop 8. Way to fight hate! It’s the kind of list I’d like to be on.

5 thoughts on “The LDS Church Contributed $190,000 in “In-kind” Donations to Prop 8”

  1. Your posting has multiple errors.

    1. First, the LDS (Mormon) Church was required to report these many of these contributions BEFORE the November 2008 election. Instead, AFTER the election, the Mormon Church claimed it had only made less than $3,000 in in-kind contributions. Only after the California FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) started its investigation, the Mormon Church filed this report — admitting to about $190,000 of in-kind contributions. There obviously is a big difference between less than $3,000 and $190,000 in contributions (in-kind or otherwise).

    2. The revelation about the Mormon Church admitting to a substantially greater in-kind contribution was widely reported on the wire services (Associated Press and UPI) in a straightforward manner. The headlines of the California papers that reported it hardly show bias — merely the facts. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle’s headline was “Mormon church reports $190,000 Prop. 8 expenses” and the Sacramento Bee’s headline was “Mormon church reveals deeper involvement in Proposition 8”.

  2. Headline bias isn’t the main bias I was referring to (although one article title on a GLBT site said the amount was more than $190,000). The bias is more evident in some of the articles (not just the headlines). Many are the same AP release but others are modifications of the release.

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