Main | Tuesday, August 04, 2015

MAINE: State Supreme Court Rules That NOM Must Reveal Their Donors

Via the Portland Press Herald:
The National Organization for Marriage has lost another round in its attempt to hide the identities of donors to a successful 2009 referendum campaign to reverse Maine’s marriage equality law. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday denied NOM’s motion to block a ruling by the state’s ethics and elections commission that the organization must register as a ballot question committee and begin disclosing its donors. Last year the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices imposed a $50,250 fine on NOM, the nation’s leading organization opposing gay marriage, a ruling that could affect the way nonprofit organizations attempt to influence Maine elections. The ruling followed an investigation in which the staff of the ethics commission found that NOM failed to comply with state law by concealing its operations and donors during the drive to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law in 2009. The ethics vote meant that the state will require the organization to register as a ballot question committee and disclose its donors from the campaign.
The director of the ethics commission says that NOM has both paid its fine and registered as a ballot question committee "under protest."

More from the Bangor Daily News:
The National Organization for Marriage has argued that the Maine Ethics Commission misapplied the law that its donors from across the United States were supporting the organization’s general principles and not specifically the referendum in Maine. The organization also has argued that disclosing its donors would seriously hinder its ability to raise funds in the future. In May 2014, Maine Ethics Commission Chairman Walter McKee said that the National Organization for Marriage has made a “mockery” of Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws. It was unclear whether the National Organization for Marriage has any additional legal options to avoid disclosure of the list.

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