Whistleblower questions church use of member donations

FILE- In this Jan. 3, 2018, file photo, the angel Moroni statue, silhouetted against the sky, sits atop the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is defending how it uses and invests member donations after a former church employee alleged in a complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the faith had improperly built a $100 billion investment portfolio using member donations that are supposed to be used for charitable causes.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement Tuesday that most of the money goes to fund church operations while another portion is “methodically safeguarded through wise financial management.”

The confidential IRS complaint provided to the Washington Post alleges the Utah-based faith known widely as the Mormon church owes billions in unpaid taxes.

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