investigations

Can Anybody Force NOM To Turn Over Its Donor List? It’s Starting To Look Like: No

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We keep getting these emails from Fred Karger, the awesome and unstoppable one-man machine behind Californians Against Hate, about how the National Organization for Marriage is “feeling the heat” and “in hot water” over its refusal to comply with campaign finance law and turn over its list of donors. Back in August we noted NOM was three months late with its IRS reports, and didn’t care. And how Maine’s Ethics Commission was launching a formal investigation into NOM. And how even Iowa was on their tail. But here we are, long after Maine’s marriage effort failed (and after an attempt to overturn Iowa’s gay marriage law also failed), and is there any movement on forcing NOM to become more transparent?

Not really. “The Maine commission denied petitions from NOM, its executive director Brian Brown and Stand for Marriage Maine on Thursday, Feb. 25, to drop subpoenas ordering them to produce the names and dollar amounts of those who contributed $100 or more,” reports Edge. “NOM, which did not have a representative at the hearing, maintained in a Feb. 11 letter to the commission from one of its attorneys that disclosing donor information ‘could have a chilling effect’ on its fundraising and Stand for Marriage Maine’s ‘ability to engage in effective campaign advocacy.'”

Yes, they are stonewalling. And yes, they are doing a great job at it. And it’s not going to end. Like their reasoning for insisting gays should not marry (because it infringes on heterosexual rights), NOM claims being forced to report donors giving over $100 would also infringe on their rights. Or at least the rights of civilians who want to take part in the political process.

Indeed, it’s a stalling tactic. But most worrisome, it’s part of NOM’s ideology, and they aren’t going to budge just because some state ethics agency is investigating them. (As some have proposed, NOM’s stonewalling might also be part of the on-going effort to hide the Mormon Church’s involvement in the organization, making it less about ideology and more about covering bases.)

So what tangible steps can authorities take? “When asked what the commission’s next steps are if NOM continues to stonewall, [ethics commission executive director Jonathan Wayne] told EDGE he could not respond because of the ongoing investigation.” So, what? No arrests? No criminal charges? For persons that are violating law and infringing on the democratic process?

But don’t worry, there’s still some solace to be had. NOM’s Facebook page has been infiltrated by same-sex marriage supporters. So there’s that.