Main | Wednesday, December 09, 2009

NOM Expands Lawsuit To Evade Maine's Financial Disclosure Law

NOM has expanded its lawsuit against Maine, now saying that not only should they not have to comply with financial disclosure laws regarding the source of funding for their ballot initiative campaigns, they should not have to disclose where they get the money they spend to support or oppose individual candidates.
The National Organization for Marriage says it hopes to influence next year's legislative and gubernatorial elections by letting voters know which candidates support or oppose gay marriage. Lawyers for NOM have filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court last week asking that it not be subjected to state laws requiring financial disclosures from its contributors. "We added additional claims that go beyond initiative campaign finance laws to campaign finance laws that deal with candidate elections because NOM would like to participate in state elections," says Jim Bopp, an attorney for the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, which is fighting a ruling by the state Ethics Commission requiring the group to register as a political action committee, and to submit campaign finance reports for independent expenditures it made during the gay marriage campaign.

But Bopp says NOM wants the same First Amendment protections given to those who contribute money to elect or defeat candidates for state offices. "Right now the problem is that there are significant unconstitutional limits on participating in state elections that they have now brought to the attention of the federal court and are looking for a decision in early spring from the court regarding that." "We know the characteristic of Maine -- we come from a live-and-let-live state," says Betsy Smith of Equality Maine, the group that fought to preserve gay marriage in the state. Smith says NOM is going to be out of touch with Maine voters before it even tries to connect.
Meanwhile Fred Karger at Californians Against Hate reports that NOM may be under investigation from the tax evasion, news he received via a carefully worded email from the IRS. Via press release:
In an IRS letter recently received by Ben Katzenberg on behalf of Californians Against Hate (CLICK HERE), Sunita Lough, Director, EO Examinations said, “Thank you for the information you submitted regarding the National Organization for Marriage PAC New York. The Internal Revenue Service has an ongoing examination program to ensure that exempt organizations comply with the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code…. Internal Revenue Code section 6103 protects the privacy of tax returns and tax return information of all taxpayers. Therefore, we cannot disclose the status of any investigation.”
Karger has launched a legal defense fund to help pay for his inclusion in NOM's lawsuit to end financial disclosure requirements in California. Karger has been subpoenaed in the suit.

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