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Salt Lake Theological Seminary Fundraising Investigated

Salt Lake Theological Seminary Fundraising Investigated

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The fundraising effort that collected $520,000 in cash and pledges in six weeks for the Salt Lake Theological Seminary is being questioned by state regulators, a seminary official said.

David Pascoe, assistant vice president of the seminary, said the state Division of Consumer Protection was asking about possible use of paid advertising for the campaign and not registering in other states where fundraising was conducted.

Pascoe said all publicity surrounding the fundraising was through a news stories and was not paid advertising.

"We only asked for funds from people already on our database," he said. "They were already our constituents."

Pascoe told the Standard-Examiner that a seminary representatives was told by an investigator, "You're not a religious organization. You're a charity. You've got to stop advertising."

Pascoe contends that the seminary is a religious organization as well as a charity.

"Being a religious organization, we are exempt from registering in every state," he said.

Francine Giani, a spokeswoman the state division, said she could not respond to any information given to the newspaper by the seminary.

However, she said, "We do have the responsibility to get some questions answered based on our regulatory activity. That's the process we're involved in right now."

Paul Murphy, a member of the seminary's board of directors representing Grace Baptist Church in Bountiful, said he believes the situation will be solved when the seminary's lawyer sends a letter to the state division.

Murphy, who also is a spokesman for the state attorney general, said he was speaking solely as a member of the board.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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