March 18, 2009
Chairman Ross Johnson
Fair Political Practices Commission
428 J Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Chairman Johnson:
Re: Fair Political Practices Commission Complaint
FPPC File No. 08/735; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aka the Mormon Church of Salt Lake City, Utah
note: Click on links below for more detailed as well as contact information for names
Many additional items have come to my attention regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) since I filed my complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on November 13, 2008.
My sworn complaint alleged that the Mormon Church made significant non monetary contributions in support of California’s Proposition 8 which they did not report as required by California election law. The FPPC sent a letter to me on November 21, 2008 stating that “the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission will investigate the allegation(s) under the jurisdiction of the FPPC of the sworn complaint that you submitted.” That investigation is ongoing (FPPC File No. 08/735).
The Salt Lake City Deseret News reported on November 14, 2008 that Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the allegations are “false” and the complaint — filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate — has “many errors and misstatements.” Trotter said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “has fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act. Claims that the church has violated the act and failed to report political expenditures made by the church are false. The church has, in fact, filed four reports with California authorities; these reports are a matter of public record. A further report will be filed on or before its due date, Jan. 30, 2009,” Trotter said.
Then on January 30, 2009, the Church filed a campaign report indicating that it made $190,000 in non-monetary contributions. The Mormon Church claimed that most of its contributions occurred in the 2 weeks prior to Election Day.
This information supplements my complaint, and I hereby request that the FPPC consider those additional allegations as part of its investigation of Mormon Church campaign activities in support of Proposition 8.
The supplemental information is set forth in two parts. The first part includes official Mormon Church documents detailing the Church’s involvement in creating a “front group” in Hawaii to fight same-sex marriage in a very similar election 10 years ago. The Mormon Church did the same thing in California. In 2007, the Mormon Church set up another front group, the
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to qualify and pass Proposition 8.
Secondly, I dispute the veracity of the January 30, 2009 campaign report filed by the Church. Attached is the full transcript of the Mormon Church’s much publicized October 8, 2008 simulcast to Church members throughout the Western United States. This satellite broadcast served as a call to arms for the Church member action during the last 4 weeks of the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
In 1995, at the request of then Mormon Church President Gordon Hinckley, Church leadership identified the type of committee they wanted to create to stop same-sex marriage in Hawaii, and they set it up.
The attached documents tell the story of how the Mormon Church established their front group in Hawaii to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in that state after the Hawaii Supreme Court heard the case. The Mormon Church established its front group called Hawaii’s Future Today (HFT) in the fall of 1995, 3 years before the election to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
They hired lobbyists, consultants, campaign managers, attorneys and had one very high ranking Mormon on the Board, Jack Hoag, the recently retired Chairman of the Church-owned First Hawaiian Bank. They were able to get money into Hawaii’s Future Today (HFT) that would go unreported (documents attached to this complaint and on our web site:
Mormongate.com). These actions hid their direct involvement while creating a coalition to lead the effort.
They raised nearly all of the money from Utah and other mainland Mormons. Eventually the Mormon Church gave $400,000 directly to the campaign committee close to the election, but received much criticism for that large contribution. They switched strategies after that campaign and in subsequent elections, did not contribute directly to campaigns opposing same-sex marriage. Instead, they sought contributions from their members directly as they did last year in California.
The attached documents reveal exactly how the church created Hawaii’s Future Today. They recruited the Chair, Debi Hartmann (see recent Bay Area Reporter story by Dan Aiello), and Co-chairs, Jack Hoag and Father Marc Alexander and other Board members, got the funds to HFT, and ran and funded it from Salt Lake using many top Church officials. Its stated mission was to fight casino gambling, prostitution, and same-sex marriage, but defeating same-sex marriage was its sole objective.
Mormon Church Establishes California Front Group to Qualify Proposition 8
The Mormon Church appears to have done the identical thing in California 12 years later. The Church established the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in the summer of 2007 for the sole purpose of qualifying and passing Proposition 8.
In 2006, two separate and competing groups tried unsuccessfully to qualify constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage in California. Both failed. Sensing an impending ruling by the California Supreme Court that could allow same-sex marriage, the Mormon Church decided to take matters into its own hands. So as it did in Hawaii, the Church created (established) a front group to qualify a constitutional amendment in California and attempted to hide its involvement.
As in Hawaii, it had a loyal Mormon on the Board of this new organization. Matthew S. Holland, son of Jeffrey R. Holland who is one of the 12 Mormon Apostles, and the former President of BYU, served in that capacity. The younger Holland teaches political science at BYU. He received his BA in Political Science from BYU and a Masters and PHD in Political Science from Duke University.
Matthew Holland had served as a fellow in 2005 and 2006 under Princeton McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Professor Robert P. (Robby) George , a very well known and controversial national advocate against same-sex marriage. Matthew Holland’s official biography quotes his mentor, Professor George on Holland’s book. “Bonds of Affection,’ is an exemplary piece of scholarship,” said Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University. “It is thoughtfully conceived and rigorously argued. Readers will be impressed by the exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge displayed, as well as by the author’s philosophical sophistication and interpretive skills.”
Professor George was the moderator of a panel at the November 2007 Mormonism and American Politics Conference held at Princeton. This was immediately prior to the campaign to qualify Proposition 8. George refers to his former fellow as “Matt” (Holland) and gives the impression that they are very close. Click on: view
Currently, Robby George serves as NOM Chairman. He is on the Board of the Institute for American Values alongside fellow NOM Board members Chuck Stetson and Kenneth Von Kohorn and mega Yes on 8 Mormon donor from Mesa, Arizona Broc Hiatt. George is also a Board Member of James Dobson’s Washington, DC based political operation Family Research Council
Robby George organized NOM and put the staff and board in place. They are all connected to him. He hired Maggie Gallagher to be the President, and recruited friend, and leading fellow anti-gay activist, Brian S. Brown away from the Family Institute of Connecticut (FIC) as the day-to-day Executive Director. George serves on the FIC National Advisory Board along with fellow NOM Board Member, Ken Von Kohorn who is Chairman of the Board of the Family Institute of Connecticut.
Another NOM Board Member, Luis Tellez is President of the Witherspoon Institute also located in Princeton, NJ. Robby George serves as a Senor Fellow at Witherspoon.
Then the Mormon leadership went to their two most reliable coalition partners; The Catholic Church and its leadership and James Dobson and his Focus on the Family. They requested $2 million in funding for NOM in order to qualify this all important constitutional amendment, with the promise that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would provide the $20 to $30 million needed for the November election. That is exactly what happened.
Focus on the Family contributed its first $50,000 on November 30, 2007 and made monetary and non monetary contributions throughout the campaign. They gave a total of $539,643.66 in cash and another $83,000 in non monetary contributions.
Wealthy Catholics gave the bulk of the early money to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). San Diegans, such as hotel owner Doug Manchester gave $125,000, Terry Caster and his family who own A-1 Self Storage gave $283,000, and several others including car dealer Robert Hoehn gave $25,000 and Roger Benson gave $50,000. The Knights of Columbus, the political arm of the Catholic Church based in Connecticut gave NOM $250,000 on January 30, 2008 and the California Knights gave another $25,000 on April 8, 2008.
While these contributions were all reported, any reporting by the Mormon Church of all of its activities in setting up NOM as its California front group is missing. Did they do polling as they did in Hawaii? Did the Church incur legal bills as they did in Hawaii? How about travel expenses, as in Hawaii? What about staff time, as they reported after the fact in California? These expenses should be easy to identify as a part of the current investigation.
The Mormon Church engages in extensive record keeping. All requests for funds are assigned an 11 digit Cost Center Number (i.e. 123-4567-899). Cost Center records should be readily available for 2007 and 2008, which would show all the money spent to create NOM. Additionally, the Mormon Church maintains records on its “Historical Material Management System” (HMMS).
Mormon Elders M. Russell Ballard, Quentin L. Cook and L. Whitney Clayton were all working on California’s Proposition 8 and their files and records should be able to substantiate these charges.
The Mormon Church should have disclosed all non monetary contributions made during the relevant reporting periods. Instead, on January 18, 2008 protectmarriage.com made a payment of $225,000 to Bader and Associates, the professional signature gathering firm hired to collect the 1.1 million signatures necessary to place Proposition 8 on the ballot. Coincidentally, NOM gave protectmarriage.com $225,000 on January 18, 2008. It looks like Manchester Hyatt Hotel owner Doug Manchester’s contribution of $125,000 to NOM that very day enabled NOM to give enough money to get the paid signature drive underway.
NOM was a pass-through committee. They raised nearly $2 million and gave most of it to protectmarraige.com and to Bader and Associates to pay for the qualification signatures.
The documents attached to this complaint show how the Church was duplicitous during its 3 year involvement in Hawaii. These never before seen Hawaii documents are also posted on our new web site: Mormongate.com.
Also, the Mormon Church contracted separately with NOM officers and directors Robert P. George, Maggie Gallagher and Brian S. Brown. The consulting contracts could have been with the individuals or with one or more of their organizations. If done by the Mormon Church, then the transactions should have been reported. Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown did not work for free. There were no payments made to Gallagher, Brown or George in any of the filings with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Maggie Gallagher also runs the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy (MPP). Maybe the Mormon Church had a fee arrangement with MPP. Maggie Gallagher is best known for being in the center of a (George W.) Bush Administration scandal. She had a $21,500 contract with the Health and Human Services Department in 2002 to help promote the administration’s $300 million “healthy marriage” initiative, but did not disclose her contract and was using her column to promote the program. Gallagher attempted to withhold this information until she finally admitted the conflict four years later.
As part of its investigation, I hereby ask the Fair Political Practices Commission, to find that the Mormon Church helped establish and pay for the creation of NOM, and failed to report any of its non-monetary contributions.
The Mormon Church Finally reported $190,000 on January 30, 2009. According to their report, nearly all of the money the Mormon Church spent came in the last two weeks of the campaign. This is particularly odd since they announced their involvement in a letter from the Church President Thomas S. Monson on June 29, 2008. This letter was read to all Mormons, telling them to “give of their time and their means” to support Proposition 8, and was identical to what they had done in other states.
Though I am neither an attorney nor an investigator, I did spend 27 years as a political consultant and am very familiar with this field.
I have carefully reviewed the late filing by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed on January 30, 2009. It fails to disclose what they spent in support of Proposition 8. They have even admitted inaccuracies after their filing.
I have taken the liberty to prepare this week by week chart showing the inadequacy of this filing.
Was money spent during the summer months? Was only $2000 spent in September? This is very hard to believe. During the last week of the campaign, they contend that more than 80% of what they contributed was expended. Clearly, this false reporting was done to try and avoid penalties for filing late, but by their obvious underreporting, it looks far worse.
For the sole purpose of communicating with the public, the Mormon Church did the following:
The Church listed $96,000 in staff time and $20,500 in facilities usage, all spent on November 4, 2008 – Election Day. After the report was released, Tony Semerad of The Salt Lake Tribune reported on February 13, 2009, “The LDS Church’s Jan. 30 financial disclosure lists $117,424 in compensated staff time and use of church facilities and equipment devoted to Prop. 8 passage. While the church’s report lists the expenditure for Election Day, Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the staff time included work between August and November.” If that is the case, the Mormon Church’s non-monetary contributions should have been disclosed on the October 6 and October 23, 2008 campaign reports — not 4 months later. The Political Reform Act was designed to allow the voters to know exactly who is spending money to influence their election – before they vote. In reviewing the Hawaii documents, it is revealed that the Mormon Church has a “Public Affairs Committee.” This committee was very active in that election. I have to believe that many of these highly paid Church employees spent significantly more than 10% of their time on Proposition 8 and that the figure the Church reported of $96,000 is grossly underreported. Two Church Elders, L. Whitney Clayton, John Dalton are listed as traveling to California. Also, Church lobbyist William S. Evans, along with Jay Bradford, Mark K. Marriott and film maker John Uibel. A close examination of actual staff time from these and other Church employees could reveal far more staff time put into their effort, and would need to be reported as non monetary contributions. Elder M. Russell Ballard as the Church’s Chairman of its Proposition 8 campaign, more than likely spent 100% of his time on this all important Church project.
In reviewing the 23 very slick commercials that the Mormon Church produced ranging from 43 seconds to over 8 minutes each, it is impossible that all commercials were made for only $29,000 as filed in their January 30, 2008 report. They used dozens of young people, filmed at numerous locations from Southern to Northern California. It appears that the Church even bought film permits in Huntington Beach (10/15/08 – $250.00) and San Francisco (10/03/08 $432.00). Since the Church’s campaign web site http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ was up before these shooting dates, it appears that these dates are incorrect. Look at all the slick commercials, and there is no way they were produced for $1260 each. They say download, forward or share and are available to non Church members on line. These 23 commercials easily cost several hundred thousand dollars to produce. The same questions arise on the costs listed for preservingmarriag.org – the Church’s Yes on 8 web site. It is listed as costing approximately $24,000. Preservingmarriage.org is a very elaborate web site. Protectmarriage.com reported that their web site cost over $500,000.
The Church’s Public Affairs Committee could be a treasure trove of information. It is set up like a major Fortune 25 company employing lobbyists in many states, monitoring legislation that affects the Church, initiatives, elections, political leadership in each state, etc. It looks like the Mormon Public Affairs Committee was very active in supporting Proposition 8 and their participation is not reported.
In the Church’s October 8, 2008 Simulcast (attached), Church Elders often refer viewers to the Church’s web site http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ They ask Church members to forward these youth orientated videos to their friends. Throughout the Simulcast, the Elders also talk about Church phone banks and other ways for Church members to communicate with non-members to support Proposition 8.
The Mormon Church never filed a Major Donor report or an Independent Expenditure report with the California Secretary of State’s office for the period from July 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007 and the period from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008. If they, in fact, were active in the qualification of Proposition 8 either through NOM or directly, they would have needed to file. Since these reports were not filed, the public could have been deceived by not knowing the full extent of the Mormon Church’s involvement in the qualification and passage of Proposition 8.
I will continue to forward information to the Commission as it becomes available to me.
Thank you very much.