Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Anti-gay National Organization for Marriage fined $50k by Maine Ethics Commission in complaint filed by Fred Karger accusing it of hiding donors

NOM will appeal, of course, and it's also going to sue Human Rights Campaign, the nation's richest gay rights organization. Karger said the ruling will help his complaint against NOM in Iowa and that he is considering filing another complaint against NOM in New Hampshire.
    In 2009, NOM poured more than $2 million into the $3 million referendum campaign to repeal the law... [NOM attorney John]Eastman said the investigation did not prove that contributions were earmarked for the Maine referendum, meaning the donors’ identities are protected by federal laws governing nonprofit “social welfare” organizations.
     ...Michael Healy, a member of the five-member ethics commission, said Eastman’s arguments didn’t make sense. He said that Brown’s dual roles effectively gave him control over the Maine ballot committee.
     “Your organization gave two-thirds of the (campaign money) to the (Maine) committee,” he said. “I have a hard time not concluding that you didn’t control the ballot question committee.”
Ethics commission chairman Walter McKee said to accept NOM’s explanation would be to “accept a mockery of Maine’s election laws.”
     McKee pointed to a series of donor solicitations and transactions that were obtained during the investigation. The records show that some donors gave specific amounts to NOM’s treasury. On the very same day, the records show that identical, or nearly identical, amounts were transferred to Stand for Marriage Maine. McKee said it was hard to believe the transactions were a coincidence or that the donations were not specifically designated for Maine campaign.
     “(The explanation) strains the credibility here,” McKee said. “It’s a tough set of facts for you.”
 Earlier today, AKSARBENT posted hilarious excerpts from a deposition in Maine's investigation by NOM's head, Brian Brown.

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