The state's Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating whether an anti-gay-marriage group failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars received in 2008 to promote Proposition 8, including several thousand dollars from an organization with ties to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Little-known GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger asked the commission to look into whether the National Organization for Marriage's "Yes on 8" campaign failed to report $350,400 it received nearly four years ago, including $10,000 from Romney's Alabama super PAC, "Free and Strong America."
Karger's complaint to the FPPC about $37,000 in non-monetary contributions made by the Mormon church to the gay-marriage ban campaign resulted in a $5,500 fine two years ago. Mormon officials agreed to pay the penalty, but denied the church hid the contributions. Instead, they said, the church had run afoul of daily reporting requirements.
"I'm two for two in California," Karger, who is the lone openly-gay GOP candidate, said in a telephone interview with The Bee's Torey Van Oot, referring to his FPPC complaint against the Mormon church.
A call and an email to the National Organization for Marriage wasn't immediately returned, but the group has said in the past that Karger has illegally put its private tax records in the public domain to press his complaints.
Karger said the documents in question are "absolutely" a part of the public domain and legal to be released.
Gary Winuck of the FPPC confirmed today that the commission has opened an investigation.
Karger's complaint cites discrepancies between NOM's 2008 tax filing, the organization's recipient committee report to the California Secretary of State and a 2008 filing by Romney's PAC.
Karger said he hopes opponents of Proposition 8 "finally get some answers" about NOM's full role in the measure.
"They think they're above the law, but they're not," he said.
The FPPC sent a letter to Karger notifying him of the decision to open the investigation last month. He found the letter today while sorting through a stack of mail that included copies of Utah ballots bearing his name for the Beehive State's June 26 presidential primary election.
"It was very dramatic, opening the letter, reading it," Karger said. "I had to read it twice"