WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) -- The CBS news show "60 Minutes" tonight will interview David Nielsen, a former senior portfolio manager at Ensign Peak Advisors, the investment arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nielsen recently filed an IRS whistleblower complaint, alleging that the church hoarded $100 billion in investment funds that should have been used for charitable purposes. In the interview, Nielsen will share his experience exposing details of LDS Church finances.
Nielsen, who worked at Ensign Peak Advisors for nearly a decade, claims that the church amassed $100 billion in investment funds and failed to use the money for charitable purposes. In his whistleblower complaint, Nielsen alleges that the church misled members about its use of tithing funds and violated the IRS code by accumulating excessive funds. Nielsen also claims that church leaders used the funds to bail out a mall in Salt Lake City and invest in a pharmaceutical company that makes opioids.
The allegations have sparked controversy among members of the LDS Church, which has long been known for its charitable efforts. The church has defended its use of funds, saying that it follows all applicable laws and uses the money to support its mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church has also said that it maintains reserves for emergencies and other contingencies.
Ensign Peak Advisors manages the investment funds of the LDS Church, which has more than 16 million members worldwide. The firm is known for its conservative investment approach and has been successful in generating strong returns for the church. In its most recent quarterly report, Ensign Peak Advisors reported holdings of $124 billion.
The controversy surrounding Ensign Peak Advisors has prompted the LDS Church to launch an investigation into its investment practices. The church has also announced that it will make changes to its financial policies and increase transparency around its use of funds. The church has said that it will provide more information about its finances in its annual report and make its financial statements available to members.
Former Ensign Peak portfolio manager David Nielsen will share his experience on exposing details of LDS Church finances in the upcoming "60 Minutes" interview. Nielsen's allegations have raised questions about the church's financial practices and put pressure on church leaders to be more transparent about their use of funds. The controversy has also sparked debate among members of the LDS Church, with some calling for greater accountability and transparency from church leaders.
The controversy surrounding Ensign Peak Advisors has also caught the attention of regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched an investigation into the firm's investment practices and is reportedly looking into whether the firm violated securities laws. The SEC has not commented publicly on the investigation, but sources say that it is ongoing.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on Thursday, February 16, 2022, in response to the controversy. In the statement, the church acknowledged that it maintains reserves for emergencies and other contingencies but denied any wrongdoing. The church also said that it would increase transparency around its use of funds and provide more information about its finances in its annual report.
Former Ensign Peak Advisor employee David Nielsen has become a controversial figure in the LDS Church, with some members praising his courage and others criticizing him for speaking out against the church. Nielsen has said that he filed the whistleblower complaint because he believes that the church should be held accountable for its use of funds and that members deserve to know how their tithing money is being used.
The controversy surrounding Ensign Peak Advisors and the LDS Church's use of funds has also raised questions about the role of religion in investing. Some critics have argued that religious organizations should not be exempt from financial regulations and should be held to the same standards as other organizations. Others have defended the church's right to manage its funds as it sees fit and have praised its conservative investment approach.
In January 2022, the SEC announced that the LDS Church and Ensign Peak Advisors would pay a combined $5 million penalty to settle charges that they violated securities laws. The settlement came after an investigation into the church's investment practices, which found that the church had failed to disclose certain information about its funds. The church and Ensign Peak Advisors did not admit or deny the charges but agreed to pay the penalty.