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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

California Fair Political Practices Commission to Decide on Fining the Church

Well, I'm certain the digital wires are going to heat up now that a fine has been proposed for the Church concerning its contributions to the Proposition 8 fight in California in 2008.


So far, only a blog on The Sacramento Bee and The San Jose Mercury News are reporting the story. The actual proposal and details of the recommendation to the California Fair Political Practices Commission can be found here. The Church's statement of what contributions it made and when the disclosure was filed can be found here.


I think it needs to be put into perspective. A fine of $5,539 is hardly the amount we have been led to expect from the opponents of Proposition 8 and especially the gay and lesbian press. The fine is not from non-disclosure but late disclosure. So, it is saying the Church fully disclosed everything but the timing was a bit late.


The fine is on a total amount of $36,928 of in-kind contributions the Church made. In-kind are non-monetary. They can include such intangibles as expert advice or tangibles such as storage space for equipment. These contributions have to be assigned monetary value and then disclosed as such.


The fine has not been levied yet. It is only proposed and will be taken up at the Commission's June 10, 2010 meeting. The agenda and details can be found here.


The Bee's quote, "The Human Rights Campaign, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said the $5,539 fine may seem inconsequential but that it "provides ongoing evidence that the Mormon church was a significant leader in the campaign to repeal marriage equality."  


The word's "significant" and "leader" are laughable given the amounts involved. The Church pointed out that its contributions represent less than one half of one percent.


I suspect this is not the final chapter in this story.


Note: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Church has agreed to pay the fine because although it disclosed all the contributions it made there are daily reporting requirements right before voting day and the Church missed these.


Also access An Open Letter to the Gay and Lesbian Communities after Proposition 8 passed in California -- from a Mormon.

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