Mormon micro-targeting effort + FPPC investigation of the LDS church = $78 million remedy

Thank you, Fred: Sworn Complaint Filed Against Mormon Church with California FPPC and Two State Attorneys General

Thank you, FPPC: FPPC Agrees to Investigate Fred Karger’s Complaint Against Mormon Church

Roman Porter, executive director of FPPC:
if the FPPC determines fault, the commission could fine “up to $5,000 per violation,” and in some cases might also file a civil lawsuit, which could lead to remedies amounting to “three times the amount of unreported or misreported contributions."
Frank Schubert, Yes on 8 campaign manager, discussing the high cost of micro-targeting:
The big news being reported out of the SF convention is that the state GOP apparently has a big donor on the hook to erase the crushing debt it accumulated during the 2006 election cycle. That's a sordid tale of its own. The GOP went heavily into debt to, in part, finance the highly-touted "micro-targeting" strategy undertaken by political advisors to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Micro-targeting involves integrating political databases with commercial databases to create a profile of an individual voter. Those deemed "persuadable" are targeted by the campaign. Schwarzenegger's advisers had seen micro-targeting used in the 2004 presidential election, and credited it for helping Bush carry critical states like Ohio. But the 2006 Schwarzenegger micro-targeting effort came with a steep price - at least $26 million. Arnold won reelection, but the micro-targeting effort that was counted on to boost the prospects of GOP candidates and causes was a complete and costly bust. With the presidential election fast approaching, the GOP is still trying to pay off those old bills.
Go read the walking script that was used, and you'll quickly realize that the army of Mormons that canvassed California for Prop 8 were not merely going door-to-door with a "Vote Yes" message ... they were the frontlines in a sophisticated micro-targeting effort that enabled the Prop 8 campaign to pinpoint persuadable voters at almost no cost. They also handed the Mormon political operatives and PR flacks running the campaign a huge freebie (from comments on a previous post of mine about the Mormon-run Eagle Foundation):
I overheard a close associate of [David] Parker and [Gary] Lawrence talking excitedly about how the databases compiled by Mormon canvassers would and could be used in future campaigns.

My suggestion to the FPPC: Take Frank Schubert's figure and ring up the bill.

$78 million.

No joke.

What is a joke is that none of this Mormon activity has been properly reported to the Sec. of State by the Prop 8 campaign:

· Church organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho
· Sending direct mail to voters
· Transported people to California over several weekends
· Used the LDS Press Office to send out multiple News Releases to promote their activities to nonmembers
· Walked precincts
· Ran a speakers bureau
· Distributed thousands of lawn signs and other campaign material
· Organized a "surge to election day"
· Church leaders travel to California
· Set up of very elaborate web sites
· Produced at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts all in support of Prop 8
· Conducted at least 2 satellite simulcasts over 5 Western states.

$78 million.

And for at least one of the Yes on 8 campaign managers, this won't be the first time coming up for FPPC scrutiny and criticism:
... in the ... 1998 general election ... Respondent Jeff Flint was the paid campaign manager ... In the campaign statements filed for the 1998 calendar year, Respondents failed to disclose subvendor information for payments totaling $1,629,292, in violation of section 84211, subdivision (j)(6), and section 84303 of the Government Code ... the evidence in this case establishes that Respondent Jeff Flint is primarily responsible for the occurrence of the subvendor reporting violations.
Between Glen Greener and Jeff Flint, SLC put some real winners on the payroll this time around.

Watch Jeff in action on Dr. Phil:

And, just for fun, here's a little somethin'
from back in the early days of Greener's career:

Greener's Pastures? Heh.


Aerin said...

hi chino - hope it's okay if I comment here.

The only issue is proving that the LDS church directly organized people, instead of people going door to door of their own free will. Many people who supported Obama or McCain did similar things - even going to another state to assist with the campaign. It's when that line is crossed, that an organization begins pulling strings that we run into problems...

Chino Blanco said...

Hi Aerin,

Of course it's OK - thanks for dropping by :-)

I agree. This is simply about holding the LDS church to the same standard that we hold other politically-involved orgs, not a higher standard or a different standard, but just the same standard. It's gonna be interesting to watch this play out.

And after all the obviously LDS-sponsored slick video productions, and websites, and coordinated get-out-the-vote work, people are naturally going to wonder whether all this activity has been reported, and that's the real issue: transparency. So far, it seems like the church leadership still wants to continue with this masquerade that it didn't insert itself directly into the process, but there was way too much material support coming from SLC for that to fly.

ChinoBlanco on Twitter

    News and views on NOM, marriage equality and the Mormon church from a former LDS missionary. This site is not affiliated with The National Organization for Marriage or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. © Copyright 2009 by Chino Blanco. All Rights Reserved.

    Add to Technorati Favorites