The popular TV newsmagazine show “60 Minutes” has released a 30-second video preview of its hotly anticipated report, airing Sunday, on finances within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The segment will feature an interview with whistleblower David A. Nielsen, a former senior portfolio manager with the faith’s investment arm who filed a complaint in late 2019 with the IRS accusing the church of amassing a $100 billion reserve fund intended for, but never spent on, charity in potential violation of tax laws. He also has called for a U.S. Senate investigation of the church’s wealth.
Nielsen previously has declined interview requests, including with The Salt Lake Tribune.
The brief clip, posted Saturday on Twitter, includes part of an interview with W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, which provides ecclesiastical oversight to the 17 million-member church’s vast financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations.
Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi notes that the Utah-based faith “collects $7 billion” every year (mainly through tithing) from the faithful, while pointing out that questions have arisen about how the “famously private church” uses that money.
“What about, you know, the idea that secrecy builds mistrust?” Alfonsi asks.
“Well, we don’t feel it’s being secret,” Waddell responds. “We feel it’s being confidential.”
In February, the church and its investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, settled a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to pay $5 million in penalties for failing to properly disclose past stock holdings and going to “great lengths,” regulators said, to deliberately “obscure” the church’s vast investment portfolio.
In settling the SEC matter, church leaders affirmed in a news release their “commitment to comply with the law,” adding that they “regret mistakes made.”
CBS’ “60 Minutes” will be broadcast Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS/Channel 2 and will also stream on Paramount+.
The Salt Lake Tribune has written numerous stories on the church’s finances. You can read these key ones to be up to speed for the “60 Minutes” interview:
• “LDS Church kept the lid on its $100B fund for fear tithing receipts would fall.”
• “Read whistleblower David Nielsen’s new sworn statement on the LDS Church’s handling of ‘tithing.’”
• “Investigate the LDS Church for tax fraud, IRS whistleblower urges U.S. Senate.”
• “LDS Church to pay $5M for hiding stock holdings, needs to ‘rebuild trust.’”
• “Read for yourself what the SEC found in the LDS Church’s stock filings.”