Mormon whistleblower talks about reporting church's questionable investment practices to the IRS

Originally published at: Mormon whistleblower talks about reporting church's questionable investment practices to the IRS | Boing Boing


In other news, returns on their fund were down by 0.02%. I’m sure they’ll never do that again :roll_eyes: .


It’s quite rare that I agree with Chairman Mao. Mao Zedong - … religion is poison

I mean, so’s a bunch of the stuff he did. Broken clock, etc.


As with most religious fundies, that “ticket to heaven” mentality allows Mormons an extraordinary degree of … flexibility when it comes to how they define financial integrity.

They teach their children those lessons too. I remember one founder of a startup I was overseeing years ago who quietly “borrowed” a few thousand dollars from the company to buy an engagement ring. The devout Mormon was genuinely shocked that we called him on it and told him to return the money and resign, and even more shocked that we told him the alternative was pressing charges.

“I think part of the lack of trust…comes from statements or comments from a whistleblower who doesn’t have all the information, who doesn’t understand…”

Oh, that’s not where the lack of trust in you and your fellow dried-out bishops comes from.


That 5 million dollar fine on 32 billion dollars must have really hurt.

I imagine it took Hours to make that money.


As churches are really businesses it’s time to regulate and tax them as such.


IMHO, many “charities” are questionable in their fundraising and uses to which they put the collected money. What if any so-called charity, including churches, had to make their financial statements publicly accessible and easily findable (say on a dedicated .gov website). Failure to comply would lock access from said funds until compliant? It wouldn’t catch all the bad apples, but it would start turning them into applesauce.


Season 2 Idea GIF by Portlandia

If they are on the up and up, they have nothing to hide, right?


But, but, I’ve heard it on the authority of some very reputable TED talks that charities and nonprofits should stop being “ashamed” of being “successful” and should embrace a for-profit attitude! /s…


With 32 billion imagine how they could change communities in need in the US or abroad. They’re not interested in solving problems, only solving enough to justify their existence and asking for more money to keep it all going.


No doubt this fuckwit thinks the IRS didn’t have all the information or understanding when it levied a $5m fine?


That’s what conservatives scream at us whenever we question something that destroys our privacy, so, yeah. Very yeah.


How could the irs possibly comprehend the mormon’s church’s mission? The irs is strictly material, and mormonism is so very spiritual.

/extravagantly rolls eyes


I’m sure there are plenty of churches that put their money where their mouths are and would not have to change anything that they do… many of the more conservative, grifting, mega-churches might be in trouble…


If they receive more than $25 million per year from the Federal Government, then they are required to make their tax returns (Form 990) available to the public, including the pay of the top five most highly compensated employees (all compensation, cash and benefits).

If they receive more than $750K from the federal government they must receive a Unified Single Audit, the results of which must be posted on a government site.

Those that aren’t required to file these reports often file through Charity Navigator.

If a charity isn’t in one of these locations it doesn’t mean they are no good, but I would be very careful about making a donation.


I work in this space, and the topic in the Ted Talk you post is valid.

Overhead is operating expenses, from the office rent to the accountants and internal auditors who ensure funds are used and recorded properly. A well run non-profit has layers of internal controls to limit and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

“Not for-profit” doesn’t mean “work for free.”

Some non-profits are run better than others, some are more likely to help their target beneficiaries than others.

Funders rightfully want as much of their funding ti reach beneficiaries, but rent is still due, utilities need to be paid to stay on, and staff needs to be paid. 10% on $5 Million is only $500k, which gets you a small office is a dilapidated strip mall and maybe 4 employees if you’re lucky, 3 more likely. Three people doesn’t get you proper internal controls, nor does it ensure efficient operations. 10% on $25 million also doesn’t get you a robust internal control and operations. Unfortunately that’s what a lot of donors expect to pay. We’ve had to turn down projects because the overhead wouldn’t cover the cost of supporting the program, and complying with all the laws, regulations, and contractual requirements for our programs.


I mean, of course they are misappropriating funds. I don’t understand why every giant mega church with multi-million dollar buildings and leaders flying around in private jets isn’t immediately under investigation and shut down. It couldn’t be more obvious that they are not operating in the spirit of religious charity, deserving of tax exemption.


I’m not sure what to think about this guy’s message. He’s trying to show that the non-profits need to think like for-profits, to invest. His talk also shows that currently we are thinking of non-profit work in terms of for-profit, ie, keep overhead low so a higher percentage of donations go to the cause. He’s saying, make the pie bigger, and more money will go to the cause. What I entirely agree with his toward the end of the talk, where more non-profit focus should go toward health and human services rather than religion and higher education.

A couple months ago, the CEO of the Ford Foundation was on PBS Newshour, and he had the same take, too much philanthropy goes to serve the wealthy. It really stuck in my mind. Find the interview here: 'From Generosity to Justice' proposes shift in giving | PBS NewsHour | THIRTEEN - New York Public Media
(Edit: I hit Save/Submit before posting the link, duh.)
(Edit again: To stay on topic, I’m not surprised that church organization is doing any of that.)


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