The Mormon church has revealed in a campaign filing that the church spent nearly $190,000 to help pass Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California.
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.
While many church members had donated directly to the Yes on 8 campaign – some estimates of Mormon giving range as high as $20 million – the church itself had previously reported little direct campaign activity.
But in the filing made Friday, the Mormon church reported thousands in travel expenses, such as airline tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals for the campaign. The church also reported $96,849.31 worth of "compensated staff time" – hours that church employees spent working to pass the same-sex marriage ban.
"As I read this report, it seems to raise more questions than it answers," said Fred Karger, who filed the initial complaint against the church with the Fair Political Practices Commission in November.
Karger, the founder of Californians Against Hate, a group that opposed the measure, said he believes the church was involved financially long before the first expenditure it listed in September.
"I think there is still a lot of missing parts of the report because we know they've been active since June," Karger said.
Mormon church officials could not be reached Saturday for comment.
Roman Porter, executive director of the FPPC, confirmed that the agency was investigating the complaint against the church but declined comment on specifics.
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