Whistleblower alleges Mormon Church has illegal $100 billion slush fund — to bail out private companies tax-free: report
Mormon Church (Shutterstock www.shutterstock.com)

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that a former investment manager with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed a whistleblower complaint with the IRS, accusing the Church of misleading both federal tax agents and their congregants about a set of accounts collectively worth $100 billion.

David Nielsen, himself a Mormon, worked at Ensign Peak Advisors, the investment division of the church, prior to filing the complaint. He is urging the IRS to strip the Church of its nonprofit status and fine the organization for misusing charitable funds — and in accordance with IRS whistleblower rules, is seeking a reward based on the proceeds from collecting the unpaid taxes.

The money flowing into these accounts is allegedly for charitable purposes. But, Nielsen claims, the Church is instead stockpiling this money and using it as a slush fund to prop up two private businesses. He also claims the church, which collects $7 billion from worshipers annually and has gigantic real estate holdings, has not directly put the funds from Ensign toward any religious, educational or charitable activities in over two decades.

"Having seen tens of billions in contributions and scores more in investment returns come in, and having seen nothing except two unlawful distributions to for-profit concerns go out, he was dejected beyond words, and so was I," wrote Nielsen's brother Lars in a statement to the Post.

University of Pittsburgh law professor and former IRS counsel official Philip Hackney, agreed that the complaint showed a "legitimate concern," saying, "If you have a charity that simply amasses a war chest year after year, and does not spend any money for charity purposes, that does not meet the requirements of tax law."

LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins declined to give details on the matter, saying, "The Church does not provide information about specific transactions or financial decisions."