California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) confirmed Monday that it will investigate allegations that the LDS Church failed to report nonmonetary contributions to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.
An independent nonprofit organization, Californians Against Hate, called for the investigation after the measure passed earlier this month, effectively ending same-sex marriages in that state.
"They read my letter and I guess came to the conclusion that there's something worth looking into," said Fred Karger, who heads Californians Against Hate, which was formed to track donations in support of the ballot initiative. "I'm hopeful that the LDS Church will cooperate and share all the records and all the information they have about their activities in the Proposition 8 campaign."
Karger, a retired political consultant, alleged in his complaint that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report money invested to organize phone banks, send out direct mailers, provide transportation to California, mobilize a speakers bureau, send out satellite simulcasts and develop Web sites as well as numerous commercials and video broadcasts.
In the aftermath of Proposition 8's passage, outcry over the LDS Church's active role has included demonstrations outside temples in California, Utah and New York protesting what critics see as Mormons' contribution of a disproportionate amount of the measure's financial backing. By some measures, Latter-day Saints are believed to have contributed as much as $22 million to the cause.
The LDS Church did not comment on Monday's latest development but said earlier that Karger's complaint had "many errors and misstatements," that the church had "fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act" and that "any investigation would confirm the church's full compliance with applicable law."