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Latter-day Saint leader says oversight led to campaign donations made in his name to Biden, others

Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (KSL.com) — Donations to President Joe Biden and other political campaigns were made in the name of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in what the church leader said was an “oversight.”

“These donations were made by our family using an online account, which is shared by our family and associated with my name,” Elder Uchtdorf said in a statement provided to KSL.com on Friday. “I regret such an oversight on my part. I fully support the church’s policy related to political donations from church leaders.”

Elder Uchtdorf, however, did not say who in his family specifically made the donations.

More than $2,000 in a total of 11 separate donations were made under the church leader’s name from August 2020 through January 2021, according to the U.S. Federal Election Commission website.

The records show $800 in donations were made to ActBlue, a nonprofit that raises money for progressive groups and the Democratic Party. Including the ActBlue donations, the FEC records show a total of 20 donations were made under Elder Uchtdorf’s name; however, when money is donated to ActBlue, the group then decides which campaign to funnel that money into, and that contribution is recorded again under the same person’s name.

“ActBlue is a conduit and all earmarked contributions it receives is transferred to other political committees, which is already disclosed in the same dataset,” explained Christian Hilland, deputy press officer for the commission. “So if you include the totals for ActBlue in the data, you would be inflating the total that this individual contributed overall.”

Contributions to Biden’s campaign and two Democratic senators from Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff, were made in Elder Uchtdorf’s name, according to the commission.

The church officially remains neutral in politics and does not endorse or promote candidates or platforms. Additionally, policy does not allow top leaders in the church, including members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to participate, promote or donate to political campaigns.

“General Authorities and general officers of the church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full-time should not personally participate in political campaigns, including promoting candidates, fundraising, speaking in behalf of or otherwise endorsing candidates and making financial contributions,” the church said in a policy issued in 2011.

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