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Commentary —  2 February 2009

Church Clarifies Proposition 8 Filing, Corrects Erroneous News Reports

Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified erroneous news reports following the filing of its final report on donations to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition.

On Friday, 30 January, the Church filed the final report of its contributions (all of which were non-monetary) to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition. The report, submitted in advance of the 31 January deadline, details in-kind donations totaling $189,903.58.

The value of the Church’s in-kind (non-monetary) contribution is less than one half of one percent of the total funds (approximately $40 million) raised for the “Yes on 8” campaign. The Church did not make any cash contribution.

Because media coverage about this filing ran without a comment from the Church, the following statements of fact from the Church add context to this story and should help correct the record:

Fox13 (Utah): “The documents show the amount spent by the Mormon Church is greater than what was initially stated.”

Fact: The Church, like other organizations on both sides of the ballot issue, was required to publicly file these donations by the 31 January deadline. The Church has been filing required contribution reports throughout the campaign. Those earlier donations “initially stated” were filed for specific time periods prior to this last reporting period, as required by law. Other groups are also filing their final contribution reports to meet the same deadline.
 
San Francisco Chronicle : “Mormon church officials, facing an ongoing investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Friday reported nearly $190,000 in previously unlisted assistance to the successful campaign for Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.”
Sacramento Bee : “The disclosure comes amid an investigation by the state's campaign watchdog agency into whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints violated state laws by not fully disclosing its involvement during the campaign.”

Fact: This filing is in no way prompted by an investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Many organizations are filing this week to meet the deadline required by law. We believe we have complied with California law.
 
KFMB 760 AM (San Diego) :
 “Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight.”
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints previously claimed only about $2,000 was spent in support of the measure.”
365Gay : “Mormon Church admits it spent 100 times more for Prop 8 than reported”

Fact: Again, the previous disclosure of an in-kind donation was to meet an earlier deadline. In fact, previous filings detailed over $50,000 out of the total non-monetary contribution of $189,903.58.This week’s filing reported donations that fell within a different time period and required reporting by the 31 January deadline. Other groups also made their final contributions reports this week.

 

Understanding the extent of donations from other organizations may help the media and the public better understand the context in which the Church’s donations were made.

Style Guide Note: When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online style guide.

 
 
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