Monday, Jun 17, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website



Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 
The National Organization for Marriage, is coming under increased scrutiny.
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
The National Organization for Marriage, is coming under increased scrutiny.

By Lisa Keen - Keen News Service The National Organization for Marriage, which formed two years ago to take the lead to oppose equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, is coming under increased scrutiny.

Two civil rights groups in Iowa filed a letter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board Monday, August 31, requesting an investigation into the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). A pro-gay group in California filed a similar request August 13 with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices.

The Iowa groups -One Iowa and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund- allege that NOM is violating state laws that require the public disclosure of contributors to political activities in the state. The law kicks in whenever an organization raises more than $750 for a campaign.

The NOM sought and, on August 10, was granted preliminary certification as a "political corporation" in Iowa, enabling it to make independent expenditures for or against state and local candidates. The designation required NOM to disclose who its donors were.

On August 20, NOM filed a report with the Disclosure Board indicating it had spent $86,060 in the campaign to fill a vacant seat in the state House. But the report did not report where the money came from.

In an August 27 letter to Brian Brown, NOM executive director, the Iowa Disclosure Board warned that if the group accepted more than $750 for political activities in Iowa, it has to disclose its contributors. Disclosure Board Director and Legal Counsel Charlie Smithson confirmed that the board "is conducting an investigation."

Brown did not return a reporter's call this week for comment. But the organization's attorney told the Iowa Independent newspaper that the funds spent in Iowa came from NOM's general treasury.

Californians Against Hate raised similar objections against Stand for Marriage Maine, a group trying to repeal the state's recently passed equal marriage law. According to state campaign finance reports filed thus far, all but $400 of the more than $343,000 raised by Stand for Marriage has come from the National Organization for Marriage and two other groups. The records show NOM has donated $160,000 to the campaign, the Portland diocese of the Roman Catholic Church has donated $152,000, and the state chapter of Focus on the Family has donated $31,000.

By comparison, the key group working against the referendum - "No on 1: Protect Maine Equality"-has raised $143,290 -all but $35,000 of which came from individuals. ($25,000 came from the Human Rights Campaign and $10,000 from the ACLU.) Equality Maine, another group working to defend the equal marriage law, has raised $63,561 -all but $20,000 of which came from individuals. (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force contributed $20,000.)

In an August 13 letter to the Maine Commission, Californians Against Hate leader Fred Karger suggested NOM is "trying to hide the true identities of those contributing to the campaign."

Jonathan Wayne, head of the Commission, said Karger's letter "lacked sufficient specificity" to trigger an investigation, but he asked Karger to "reformulate" his request and provide more specifics. Wayne said the Commission has also asked Stand for Marriage Maine to be prepared to respond to formal allegations.

The disclosure of the identities of contributors has become one of several stark battle lines in the repeated clashes between pro and anti-gay political campaigns. Anti-gay groups in California and Washington State mounted challenges against state financial disclosure requirements, claiming pro-gay activists are using the public information to intimidate donors to anti-gay campaigns. Their request was turned down in California but won at least a temporary stay in Washington.

According to the National Organization for Marriage website, NOM was founded in 2007 to establish "an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures," but it acknowledges involvement in "marriage-related initiatives at the state and local level." The group is organized as a 501(c)(4) organization -the same tax status as the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign. HRC has a separate political action committee which it uses to make contributions to various candidate and issue campaigns around the country. NOM's website indicates it has a NOM Marriage PAC that "will raise funds for direct involvement in targeted races of strategic importance around the country." A Federal Elections Commission spokesperson said the NOM PAC is not registered with the FEC, but does not need to unless it becomes involved in federal campaigns.

According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, 501(c)(4) status means a group must be non-profit and "must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare." The IRS defines promoting social welfare as furthering "the common good and general welfare of the people of the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements)." Such groups are permitted to engage in lobbying and "some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity."

© 2009 Keen News Service

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Murray says no to write-in, yes to R-71
------------------------------
Ref. 71 certified by Secretary of State for November ballot
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rea Carey, Director, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
------------------------------
National Equality March to take place in October
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS: Ref. 71 state & federal lawsuits
------------------------------
Judge denies restraining order in R-71 lawsuit
------------------------------
State Republican Party endorses bigoted Ref. 71
------------------------------
Crowded town hall meeting for healthcare
------------------------------
Gay marriage takes effect Sept. 1 in Vermont
------------------------------
Missing Ed Ruby
------------------------------
Special to the SGN: A voice from the front lines at Olympia count
------------------------------
Seattle's Gender Odyssey conference launches
------------------------------
Italian soccer coach makes controversial homophobic remark
------------------------------
The Outfield: The disappearing Lesbian coach
------------------------------
SOAP presents first check on City debt
------------------------------
Seattle Out and Proud Seeks New At-Large Board Members
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
The National Organization for Marriage, is coming under increased scrutiny.
------------------------------
More than 2 dozen men arrested as part of sex sting in Pierce County park
------------------------------
Ref 71 (and Equality Cookies)
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

 

http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2009

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News