Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mr. Brown speaks about Maine


Tuesday, a story is just posted to American Family Association's One News Now blog. It is written by Charlie Butts (who else?). According to Butts:
The head of the National Organization for Marriage feels political power may be the reason why it's seeing demands for its donor list.

The group recently won a case in which the IRS was trying to obtain a partial list of its donors – but the situation in Maine is different. That state's Supreme Court ordered the organization to turn over part of its donor list: people who contributed to ban unnatural marriage in Maine.

Complying with campaign finance laws has nothing to do with political power. Moreover, Butts is profoundly confused. The IRS wasn't trying to obtain anything. The IRS inadvertently failed to white out donors names when it lawfully provided a copy of NOM's 990 to a third party. NOM spent $600 thou on legal fees to receive a settlement of $50K. Moreover, NOM lost the case in summary judgment which is why they did not recover any legal fees. But I digress. Butts continues:
Brian Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This is just a witch hunt, pure and simple," he tells OneNewsNow. "We complied because we fought this all the way up. We obviously, reluctantly, did what the state asked us to do."
NOM was required to do what every other political committee is required to do. The fact that this was futilely litigated for over five years cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. NOM also incurred legal fees — money that they really don't have.
According to Brown, the ramifications could be serious because donors who don't want their names to be revealed publicly might be less inclined to donate in the future. In California and Washington, for example, homosexual activists and their supporters intimidated and harassed donors after gaining access to donor lists.
Perhaps. Nevertheless, the law is what it is. NOM engaged in the contest and has to play by the rules. Nobody forced them to spend $2 million in donors' money. Maine's voters eventually undid Question 1 and, of course, there is now Obergefell.
But while Brown is convinced the tactic will backfire and that his group's supporters will stick with them, he's concerned about a bigger issue.

"The real issue ... is that we have to wake up to the realization that we live in a country where people in power are quite willing to use their power to punish and intimidate those they disagree with," he explains. "And that's frankly un-American."

Already liberal media is releasing names of some of the contributors. In 2012, Maine voters approved unnatural marriage, and the demand for the organization's donor list began after that.
Campaign finance disclosure is not a “tactic.” Perhaps if the voters knew in 2009 that all but $50,000 of that $2 million came from out-of-state they might have arrived at a different conclusion. Moreover, nobody is persecuting NOM. NOM created this problem by choosing to skirt the law in order to increase donations through unlawful confidentiality. NOM may be a proxy for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops but they don't get special rights when it comes to obeying the law.

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