After visiting the National Organization for Marriage’s offices in New Jersey, twice, trying to get copies of the non-profit’s 990 reports back in May, Californians Against Hate filed a formal complaint with the IRS. This month, the group filed another complaint alleging NOM and other religious-affiliated groups are engaged in money laundering campaigns in Maine. Under federal law, and in order to retain its tax-exempt status, NOM is required to disclose this financial data. Organizations are provided a 30-day timeline to meet data requests. Need we remind you it’s now August? And NOM still hasn’t released its finances?
Skeptics, and there are many, say NOM is hiding its financial data because it’ll be easy to link the group back to the Mormon Church, which plenty of gay activist organizations believe is backing NOM. It was only a few months ago that “Matthew R. Holland, son of Mormon Apostle Jeffrey S. Holland and a board member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, resigned from the board of NOM after rumors began circulating that the two organizations were affiliated.”
If the Mormon Church is funding NOM, this would be problematic, since NOM (formed in May 2007 to push through Prop 8), actively endorses political candidates — something religious non-profits cannot do legally. They risk losing their tax-exempt status. Thus, the necessary front group.
But the issue of NOM’s financials is as pressing as ever, as Maggie Gallagher & Co. move in to Iowa with a (long-term) stab to challenge the State Supreme Court’s April ruling that same-sex marriage must be legalized. (The earliest voters could have their say is 2014.) NOM claims to have spent $1.5 million advocating against same-sex marriage laws with TV ads airing in states including New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa and Washington, D.C. It’s now fronting at least $86,000 so its selected candidate, hog and grain farmer Stephen Burgmeier, can make a run for the Iowa State House in a Sept. 1 special election to fill exited Democratic Rep. John Whitaker’s seat. (Interestingly, Burgmeier says he’s never had any contact with NOM.)
It’s all part of NOM’s Reclaim Iowa Project, which butts up against One Iowa, the pro-gay marriage group that’s joined in demanding NOM release its financial reports. There’s under a week before Iowa’s elections, so while the data should still be released, like, now, it would have little effect on the outcome in Iowa.
Meanwhile, the IRS might only penalize NOM $20 each day (if anything) beyond the 30-day deadline. Certainly if the group can generate enormous sums for political campaigns, it can afford to pay penalties for paperwork delays.