NOM Iowa Complaint 2013

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The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) violated Iowa Code Section 68A.404(3)(a)(2) by making independent expenditures in excess of $750 in Iowa for the purposes of the 2010 judicial retention election with donations made for the purpose of furthering this specific independent expenditure without disclosing the source of their funding.
 
 
June 12, 2013
 
Megan Tooker
Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board
510 East 12th Street, Suite 1A 
Des Moines, IA 50319 
 
Re: National Organization for Marriage

 

Dear Mrs. Tooker,

I would like to file a formal complaint against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for violations of Iowa’s campaign laws in the 2010 and 2012 judicial retention elections. In both campaigns, NOM engaged in express advocacy without disclosing donors and specific in-kind contributions made in furtherance of their campaign against Iowa’s judges.

Complaint One: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) violated Iowa Code Section 68A.404(3)(a)(2) by making independent expenditures in excess of $750 in Iowa for the purposes of the 2010 judicial retention election with donations made for the purpose of furthering this specific independent expenditure without disclosing the source of their funding.

The National Organization for Marriage has a long history of refusing to disclose its donor’s names as required by state and federal law and NOM is under a nearly four year investigation in Maine for not reporting the names of its donors after it gave $1.9 million or 2/3 of all the money raised to pass Question 1 in that state’s November 3, 2009 anti-gay marriage election.

In Maine an organization is required to disclose its contributor’s names after it raises or spends $5,000 for an election.  NOM claimed that it had the $1.9 million in its general fund, which was not true after donation records were subpoenaed by the Maine Attorney General, it was revealed that at least $1.7 million of the money came in to NOM during the month of October only weeks before the election in three separate checks; one for $1 million, one for $400,000 and one for $300,000.

In California where NOM was the largest donor to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in 2008, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has been investigating NOM’s failure to report $345,000 for over a year in money it raised to pass Prop 8, that state’s anti-gay marriage law.

 

It certainly appears that NOM did exactly the same thing in Iowa in advance of the November 2, 2010 Supreme Court Judicial Confirmation Election.

NOM did not even file its first report of the nine it eventually did file until September 13, 2010, even though it had been working on the campaign well prior to that date.

NOM’s Iowa filings never listed where it got its money from, which totaled $635,627.95 in 2010.  Just as it did California and Maine during the two preceding years, it is highly unlikely that NOM had this much money just sitting in its bank account, but instead raised it specifically for the campaign it ran and funded to remove three Iowa Supreme Court Justices from office.

If these funds were raised through calls and emails for the specific purpose of furthering the removal of Iowa Supreme Court Justices from office, those donations should have been disclosed to the Iowa Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board, and the lack of disclosure is a clear violation of  Iowa Code section 68A.404(3)(a)(2).

 

 

Independent Expenditure Filings by NOM (copies attached):

https://webapp.iecdb.iowa.gov/PublicView/?d=IndepExpend%2f2010

 

September 13, 2010          $ 235,037.00
October 19, 2010            $ 200,000.00
October 24, 2010            $  60,000.00
October 24, 2010            $  20,000.00
October 24, 2010            $   3,071.00
October 28, 2010            $  90,000.00
October 28, 2010            $   6,613.02
October 29, 2010            $  15,691.39
October 29, 2010            $   5,215.54
Total                       $ 635,627.95

 

 

Complaint Two: The National Organization for Marriage made in-kind contributions of time and travel to assist Bob Vander Plaats and the Family Leader’s “No Wiggins” campaign in their efforts in the 2012 judicial retention election, and did not disclose those in-kind donations in violation of Iowa Code Chapter 68A.201A.

NOM’s Unreported Involvement in the 2010 Iowa Judicial Retention Election 

August 11 2012 Brian Brown, the President of the National Organization for Marriage flew to Iowa to be at the Iowa Retention Campaign Kickoff and announced NOM would match up to $100,000 in donations for the retention campaign:  http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2012/08/iowans-for-freedom-initiative-launched-to-unseat-judge-david-wiggins/

  • NOM did not report Brian Brown’s travel to and participation the Iowa Retention Campaign Kickoff.

 

August 13, 2012, The National Organization for Marriage’s official blog, NOMBlog, begins to campaign against Justice Wiggins:  NOM Pledges $100,000 to Defeat Pro-SSM Iowa Judge.

http://www.nomblog.com/26874/

  • How much does NOM pay a staff member to blog?
  • How many readers does NOM’s blog usually receive?
  • Why did NOM not report the in-kind contributions for this Anti-Wiggins communication on their official blog?

 

September 7, 2012: The National Organization for Marriage posted Brian Brown’s speech at the No Wiggins Kickoff on its official YouTube page video about judicial retention http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUY5RBZ1tN4&list=UUymdt3zjrVFXztmhlsVQNMQ&index=38

  • How much did NOM pay for the equipment and the videotaping of this video?
  • There are multiple camera angles and the ending has been edited.  How much did NOM pay for the editing of this video?
  • This is a campaign communication that has been viewed by thousands of people, how much would that cost in in-kind contributions?

 

September 21, 2012: The National Organization for Marriage sent an email to all its members, communicating the need “to oust Judge Wiggins” and asks for members help to oust Judge Wiggins. (email attached to this complaint)

 ”In Iowa, we’ve helped launch the “No Wiggins Bus”, as the Sioux City Journal recently noted. Our special thanks go out to Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Bobby Jindal for joining the effort to oust Judge Wiggins, one of the Iowa judges who voted to impose gay marriage on the people of Iowa without their consent!

… “The judiciary’s usurpation of authority in recent years is completely unacceptable,” Santorum said in a statement. “It is obviously clear the people’s Constitution gives the judicial branch the least power, and yet these appointed judges continuously legislate from the bench whether it is gay marriage in Iowa, collective bargaining in Wisconsin, or resulting in the death of millions of lives caused by the opinion of Roe v. Wade.”

The “No Wiggins” bus tour—sponsored by CitizenLink, Patriot Voices, the Family Leader, the National Organization for Marriage and CatholicVote.org—seeks to mobilize opposition among Iowa voters to oust Wiggins.

You will remember that in 2010 the first three judges who invented a right to gay marriage in the Iowa Constitution came up for election—and for the first time in history, Iowa voters turned out all three!  It will be a tougher battle this time, as pro-gay marriage money will swarm the state. But with God’s help, and yours, we will stay in this fight, too—and win!”

  • The National Organization for Marriage claims to have more than 2 million members.  How much does a campaign email to more than 2 million individuals cost?
  • How many of NOM’s email list members are Iowa voters?
  • Why did the National Organization for Marriage not report the in-kind contribution for this email to its millions of members?

 

September 23, 2012: The National Organization for Marriage was a part of the No Wiggins bus tour which began on September 24.  NOM did not report its involvement in the Iowa bus tour until September 26.  http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2012/09/santorum-jindal-join-iowans-for-freedom-on-no-wiggins-bus-tour/

  • When did Brian Brown and other NOM staff members actually arrive in Iowa?
  • When did Brian Brown and other NOM staff members actually purchase tickets to Iowa?
  • When did NOM pay for its involvement in the No Wiggins bus tour?

 

September 27 2012: The Official National Organization for Marriage official YouTube page uploaded a video of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urging voters to vote against Justice Wiggins.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwB6HkE8wBA&feature=player_embedded

  • How much did NOM pay for the equipment and the videotaping of this video?
  • How much did NOM pay for the editing of this video?
  • This is a campaign communication that has been viewed by thousands of people, how much would that cost in in-kind contributions?

 

September 29, 2012: The official National Organization for Marriage Blog, NOMBlog, posts updates about the No Wiggins campaign and includes the video they made of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urging voters to vote out Justice Wiggins.  The Blog post includes this official legal language:  “Paid for by National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC, Brian Brown, President. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or ballot issue committee.”     http://www.nomblog.com/28641/

  • How much does NOM pay a staff member to write this blog?
  • How many readers does NOM’s blog usually receive?
  • Why did NOM not report the in-kind contributions for this Anti-Wiggins communication on their official blog?

 

October 1, 2012: The Official National Organization for Marriage official YouTube page uploaded a video of NOM President Brian Brown urging voters to vote against Justice Wiggins.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S5snnTQepQ&list=UUymdt3zjrVFXztmhlsVQNMQ&index=32

  • How much did NOM pay for the equipment and the videotaping of this video?
  • How much did NOM pay for the editing of this video?
  • This is a campaign communication that has been viewed by thousands of people, how much would that cost in in-kind contributions?

 

October 10, 2012: The National Organization for Marriage created this “Best of No Wiggins Reel” and uploaded it to its official blog.  After the video, it clearly states that this video is “Paid for by National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC, Brian Brown, President. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or ballot issue committee.”    http://www.nomblog.com/29136/

  • How much did NOM pay for the equipment and the videotaping of this video?
  • How much did NOM pay for the editing of this video?
  • This video contains a pop/country song.  How much did the National Organization for Marriage pay for the rights to use this song in its video?
  • This is a campaign communication that has been viewed by thousands of people, how much would that cost in in-kind contributions?

 

November 6, 2012: The National Organization for Marriage sends an email to all its members explicitly telling them to Vote No on Wiggins:  “In Iowa, vote NO on retaining pro-gay marriage Judge David Wiggins” (email attached to this complaint)

  • The National Organization for Marriage claims to have more than 2 million members.  How much does a campaign email to more than 2 million individuals cost?
  • How many of NOM’s email list members are Iowa voters?
  • Why did the National Organization for Marriage not report the in-kind contribution for this email to its millions of members?

Each of these activities appears to constitute an in-kind contribution to Bob Vander Plaats’ and the Family Leader’s “No Wiggins” campaign that were not reported to the Iowa Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board in violation of Iowa Code Chapter 68A.201A.

 

 

I respectfully request a thorough investigation into NOM’s activities in the 2010 and 2012 Iowa judicial retention election, including a detailed accounting of any and all in-kind contributions made, and the specific funding sources thereof.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

___________________________________

Fred Karger

Author: admin

Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californians Against Hate) was founded in July 2008, just after Proposition 8 qualified for the November 4th ballot. We wanted to draw attention to the major donors to the Yes on 8 campaign. These opponents of same-sex marriage spent over $2 million just to qualify this constitutional amendment to take away our newly acquired freedom to marry. If these individuals, businesses, and organizations are so adamant in their desire to turn back the clock and take away our civil rights, then the gay community, our families and our friends will fight back

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