Focus on the Family employs hardball campaign tactics in Prop 8 push

One of the more fascinating elements of today’s investigative report on the $1.25 million contributed by Focus on the Family and its allies is how internal campaign-style “bundling” quietly propelled the Christian media organization into the Prop 8 troika with the initiative’s more public proponents, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Knights of Columbus.

From our story, Focus on the Family vastly outpaced Mormon spending on Proposition 8:

Focus on the Family donated more to the Proposition 8 campaign than has been reported, The Colorado Independent has found. A widely reported sum of “$657,000 in money and services” donated toward the ballot measure by Focus falls short of the total, failing to account for contributions made by the organization as long ago as November 2007 when Focus on the Family helped seed ProtectMarriage.com with a $50,000 cash contribution. The evangelical group spent another $35,650 in December 2007 supporting the anti-gay marriage group with Web ads, e-mail blasts, radio broadcasts, printing and postage, according to a disclosure form filed with the California secretary of state. Total 2008 contributions from Focus on the Family to the Proposition 8 campaign were $641,600, according to disclosure forms filed in January and made available to the public a week ago. A Focus on the Family spokesman didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Another element of effective political activism employed by Focus is supporting an ancillary campaign that could be quickly assimilated into a larger anti-gay agenda.

In addition — though apart from the $727,250 spent directly to pass Proposition 8 — Focus on the Family donated $14,915 in 2007 to the Save Our Kids referendum to overturn a California law that says “no teacher shall give instruction nor shall a school district sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias because of” homosexuality, transsexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status. That campaign didn’t make it to the ballot, but was a precursor to the Proposition 8 campaign. “After much prayer, consideration and consultation,” Save Our Kids organizers wrote on their Web site, the group decided to “suspend the Save Our Kids campaign to allow our staff and supporters to dedicate themselves to the Marriage amendment (Proposition 8).”

The looming question becomes whose family is the media empire focused on — gays and lesbians who want to marry in order to become a lawfully-bonded family or the 200 families thrown out work when the Focus permanently furloughed its employees while ponying up more than million dollars to support Prop 8?

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Wendy Norris

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