Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Attempts to Rewrite History are Very Risky

Brian S. Brown is a frequent subject of this blog because he sends out emails, virtually daily, looking for donations. Every one of those money-begs is dishonest in one form or another. Holier-than-thou doesn't seem to require truthfulness.

This fib in an email received Tuesday is particularly amusing:
NOM had successfully sued the IRS over its illegal release of confidential donor information which ended up the hands of one of the nation’s most extreme LGBT groups, the misnamed Human Rights Campaign. Because we pushed back against the IRS and took them to court – eventually winning a settlement – the Treasury Department has announced that they will no longer require nonprofit groups to report the names of their donors.
In order of mention:
  1. National Organization for Marriage lost its suit against the Internal Revenue Service which is why they were not able to recoup legal fees in the amount of $690,000. It received a nuisance settlement of $50,000 to end the litigation, resulting in a net loss of $640,000.
  2. The IRS did not “illegally” release anything. A conservative Republican judge determined that an inadvertent clerical error by a low-level employee of the IRS occurred. A form 990 was sent to someone claiming to be a journalist without redacting donor information.
  3. While it is true that the Human Rights Campaign received a copy it was not from the IRS. It was from the individual who requested the form.
  4. While it is true that the IRS no longer requires donor information on contributions over $5,000 from most nonprofit organizations it is unlikely to have anything to do with NOM's failed litigation which was finalized in October, 2014. The underlying incident dates back to March, 2012. The IRS made the applicable ruling in July, 2018.
We are happy that our fight against the IRS has resulted in this change of policy that is being lauded. It shows just how effective NOM can be in making things happen in Washington.
The above is a dangerous selling point. Some schmuck like me can point out that NOM used $690,000 of donor funds to wage an idiotic lawsuit which it lost. The principal beneficiary of the litigation was NOM's lawyer, John Eastman, who, at the time, was also NOM's board chairman. NOM donors enriched an insider; receiving no benefit in return.

In 2013, NOM claimed:
"There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law." — Brian Brown, NOM president —
Brown suggested that President Obama had something to do with the matter and added:
At the time of the theft, the HRC had long-sought to know the identity of NOM's major donors and its chief executive was a co-chair of President Obama's reelection campaign. The Form 990 that was leaked to the HRC contained the identity of numerous major donors to the organization.
Brown was wrong on all counts. The form wasn't stolen and the IRS did not provide the form to the HRC. I was also wrong, speculating at the time that the return probably came from an employee of NOM or its tax preparer.

Brown was previously more explicit. In April, 2012 Brown wrote:
HRC President & Obama Co-Chair Implicated in IRS Leak Scandal.”
That was not just wrong but profoundly dishonest.

Meanwhile, while all of this was going on, NOM was an illegal conduit. NOM engaged in a scheme to create tax-deductible contributions out of contributions that were legally not tax deductible. They got caught and I filed a referral with the IRS. Whether the IRS then reversed the deductions of donors is unknown.

The important part of this is that NOM engaged in an illegal scheme which backfired. Donors might have paid the price for NOM's malfeasance.
The most preposterous part of all this
Uh huh. Because NOM has demonstrated so much competence in its actions and in its stewardship of donated funds.

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