Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who is NOM trying to protect by refusing to list its donors?

In the case of the National Organization for Marriage's huge loss today in front of the Maine Ethics Commission, I really miss lgbt investigative reporters. While it's awesome that NOM was embarrassed and fined record amount (more than $50,000) for its violation of Maine's election laws, the meat of the story lies in the organization's funders.

From LGBTNation:

 (The Maine Ethics Commission) ruled that the National Organization for Marriage failed to properly register as a ballot question committee and file campaign finance reports in the referendum that struck down same-sex marriage before it was legalized by voters in 2012. The decision could force the group to eventually disclose the names of its donors, which it has long sought to keep secret. But a lawyer for the National Organization for Marriage said it intends to appeal the decision in state court, and members of the Maine Ethics Commission said they expect litigation to continue for at least a year.

 . . . The group, which fought in Maine courts for more than four years to keep the names of its donors concealed, argues that it worked to ensure it was complying with Maine law by not raising any money specifically earmarked to influence the gay marriage question in the state. It says revealing the names will put its contributors at risk for harassment and intimidation and will chill future donations.

I say that's bull and I am extremely intrigued. NOM looks like it will go the ultimate limit to protect its list of donors. And I want to know why. I have a feeling that when we ultimately find out who is funding NOM, all hell is going to break loose.

 I also have to ask am I the only one who is wondering about this?  I'm curious to hear your thoughts and speculations.


Chuck Dougherty said...

Alvin McEwen, I'm just as curious as you are as to whom the NOM donors are, but I'll bet we could put our heads together and make a reasonably good run at filling in some of the blanks on the list. The fact that we're talking Maine here probably diminishes national interest even though there are national implications. Methinks, the religious right and its supporters deliberately attack state by state because they might have a better chance of succeeding with small steps than they would a national attack most likely doomed to fail the test of constitutionality. Personally, I take exception with people who are adamant in promoting their First Amendment right to speak, but aren't willing to stand behind what they have to say. We both know that the whole point behind the secrecy is to increase the number and amount of donations without requiring any accountability. This is, of course, IMHO.

Anneliese Muller said...

Oh No, You are definitely NOT the only one wondering just what they are hiding. Its gotta be something BIG to go this far with it. I for one, cannot WAIT to find out.

JR Buckley said...

I can hardly wait to find out, too. And I agree with your assessment that it's going to be a bombshell of a revelation!

Bose in St. Peter MN said...

Yeah, especially the single 2009 donor who plugged the nearly $3 million hole in NOM's (non-existent) budget.

Brian Brown testified that major donors have been essential, often requiring big sums to be matched by others. Whoever single-handedly saved NOM's behind in 2009 could well be the source of the Fall 2013 $1 million gift which had to be matched.

I'm tempted to look to the Knights of Columbus, and yet it strikes me as unlikely that KoC would have the flexibility to have coughed up almost $2M in the closing days of the 2009 campaign in Maine. Plus, NOM was running so erratically in '09 (no budget, shoveling cash, little control or oversight by its board) that institutional givers would have shied away.

So, Koch brothers? The Catholic Church? Wouldn't it be fun if it was a Muslim or non-U.S. person or group, somebody that would actually piss off NOM's other supporters...

BJohnM said...

I suspect it's going to be the Catholic Church (or some off-shoot of said church). I can't really imagine anyone else with that kind of money just laying around. LDS is a possibility. While they softened their rhetoric somewhat, their basic position hasn't really changed. They wanted to distance themselves from the fight, so funding it anonymously could be a possibility.

If not one of those two religious groups, look for it to be some reclusive millionaire who buys into the dominionist view of the world.

It is clear that whoever it is does NOT want their name to get out, and is pushing NOM hard to fight the disclosure. Most of the obvious haters though (Catholic Church included), have no problem being known for hating, and their support of "traditional marriage." That's what makes this all the more intriguing. The issue is, who has something to lose if their contribution becomes public?

Erica Cook said...

I have a feeling their interest in hiding the identity of their doners has more to do with the politics of the issue than it does who they are. First, they play themselves off as being grass roots group. They pretend the bulk of the money they raise comes from the common person. In the vane they play at not being all that far reaching. Remember Magi's response when caught trying to create a division between the blacks and the gays? She said she thought they were getting too big for their britches, so to speak. That's not by accident. The intention is clearly to make them seem more like a homey group of people who just so happen to have the majority of support even though they don't.

Second is that they've said all along that the reason why they won't give up the names is for fear of retribution. At one time I'm sure they were concerned with what might happen but over time many big name groups were outed, so to speak, if they simply handed them over without a fight they would look like nothing more than the blow hards they really are.

The concern that they may have to be seen as nothing more than a special interest group funded by a small group of the ultra rich is likely a part of this, but I doubt the who is more important to them as the how many. They've tried to spin things to seem as if their views were a silent majority's view, cowed by a group of millitant minority, and once this information is common knowlage that claim will likely be seen as the lie it is.

Alexander Bauer said...

LDS seems unlikely. Not much point in hiding their anti-LGBT animus as it's well known how integral they were to Prop 8.

The Catholic Church seems somewhat likely considering the lengths they themselves have gone to to cover up literally anything that can paint them as awful.

I'm curious if it's a major foreign investor, someone who would inspire almost universal disgust for sticking their nose into American politics.