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ANP has put together an in-depth investigation into just how much influence the Mormon Church had in passing Proposition 8.

When Prop 8 won by a razor thin margin, protesters saw Mormon donations as the deciding factor. And now, two contradictory stories have emerged:

The Mormon Church reported that they only contributed just over $2000 to the "Yes on 8" campaign. But beyond that amount, Mormon leaders clearly stated that they "did not contribute money".

But others claim that the church lied about its financial contributions, accusing them of bankrolling upwards of 70%, or $30 million, of the Prop 8 funds.

They cite an agressive door-to-door campaign, print and television ads, websites and internet videos as evidence of massive spending.

Because of this, the California Fair Political Practices Commission has jumped into the fray.

It is investigating whether the Mormons vastly under-reported their financial contributions.

Within days of launching the investigation, the church submited an amended financial acocunting to include $20,000 in legal services donated to the "Yes on 8" campaign.

But ANP has acquired something the California commission has not yet seen or heard. A piece of evidence that may expose a gaping hole in the Mormons' financial accounting.

Mormon leaders broadcast an hour long training video via satellite to hundres of churches in 5 states in the weeks leading up to the election. While only 4 minutes of the video was released publicly, ANP has obtained the audio and text of the entire hour.

In it, Mormon leaders outline a war plan for assuring the passage of Proposition. They promise to produce "several multimedia pieces" including "print, radio, television, and internet video", they mention the "blossuming" of yard signs and the establishing of call centers.

But none of these items were accounted for in financial records.

Also, protesters are calling for the IRS to strip the church of its tax-exempt status. IRS law says that religious organizations cannot engage in a "substantial" amount of lobbying.

But how does the IRS define "substantial"?

They don't.

On top of that, unlike other non-profit groups, churches do not have to open their financial books to anyone.

This is a possible loop hole that many practitioners hope the IRS quickly addresses.

Here is ANP's video report:

Originally posted to minorityfilms on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 09:49 AM PST.

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