NOM Loses Big in Iowa

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2009

Maggie Gallagher gambled big in Iowa. Her National Organization for Marriage spent over $86,000 to buy television ads for the Republican candidate, Stephen Burgmeier, who supports putting marriage equality up to a vote.

While $86,000 might not be a large sum in, say, the New York gubernatorial campaign, it towers in comparison to the $63 K Burgmeier raised on his own or the $43 K pulled in by his opponent. But this flood of cash did not accomplish what they had hoped. (Iowa Independent)

Democrat Curt Hanson has defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier by 107 votes in Iowa House District 90, according to unofficial results released by the Iowa Secretary of State\’s office Tuesday night.

Hanson will replace former state Rep. John Whitaker (D-Hillsboro), who was appointed to a position with the USDA. The balance of power in Iowa\’s lower legislative chamber remains unchanged, with Democrats holding on to a somewhat volatile 56-44 majority.

But the bigger loss for Maggie and NOM may be procedural and in reputation. As in Maine, questions have arisen about whether NOM is flouting campaign law and illegally money-laundering contributions. (Los Angeles Times)

Last month, W. Charles Smithson, the director of the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, wrote to NOM to “make sure everyone was on the same page” and that the group was familiar with Iowa election law. One point Smithson made was that NOM would need to register as a political action committee if donors are giving $750 or more for “express advocacy activities” – as well as disclose the identities of donors.

When NOM did not register as a PAC or disclose the source of the television ad funds, One Iowa and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.

As these complaints continue to stack up, state by state, eventually Gallagher will find herself explaining to a judge a good deal more about the structure and funding of the National Organization for Marriage than she wishes. And if Fred Karger’s accusation about NOM being a front-group for the Mormon Church has any basis whatsoever, such a disclosure could be devastating to her efforts.

I hardly see how gambling on a long-shot candidate in Iowa in flagrant violation of campaign laws could have been considered a wise bet.

Pender

September 2nd, 2009

We are extremely lucky to have such inept opponents in NOM and Maggie Gallagher. Frank Schubert and the Yes on 8 team are much scarier.

Penguinsaur

September 2nd, 2009

“As these complaints continue to stack up, state by state, eventually Gallagher will find herself explaining to a judge a good deal more about the structure and funding of the National Organization for Marriage than she wishes. And if Fred Karger’s accusation about NOM being a front-group for the Mormon Church has any basis whatsoever, such a disclosure could be devastating to her efforts.”

God I hope so. not only because of how it will help now, but so in 30-50 years when some missionary is trying to tell me the bible was never used to justify hating gays and it was just a ‘vocal minority’ I can shove a court transcript down his throat detailing exactly how his church spent truckloads of money taking my rights away.

occono

September 2nd, 2009

At least there’s some good news today.

Ben in Oakland

September 2nd, 2009

I’m just curious here. Is NOM a tax exempt group? By donating money to a candidate, or even advocating in his name, aren’t they endangering that?

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2009

Ben,

Political pressure groups and PACs are tax exempt. You just can’t deduct contributions to them from your tax return.

NOM, like most political PACs, has both 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 branches.

The 501(c)3 entity is for “education” and contributions are deductible. They can print up anti-gay literature, do anti-gay studies, bash gay folk at churches and schools and other events with this money.

The 501(c)4 contributions are not tax-deductible and can be used on direct campaigns.

John

September 2nd, 2009

I wonder if any of the donors were from outside the United States. If that were the case, that would probably be a campaign law violation and would also raise questions about whether the NOM PAC should register as a foreign lobbyist.

If the money is coming from the Mormon Church, then it is likely that some of it is coming from foreign tithes (unless they keep all the money separate, which I seriously doubt).

Ben in Oakland

September 2nd, 2009

thanks. i thought my thinkin’ was mudy.

Too much exposure to NOMskulls like Naggie.

Dan

September 2nd, 2009

Pender, you nailed it.

Matt

September 2nd, 2009

What a shame…

Ephilei

September 3rd, 2009

Who needs wisdom when you’re on a mission from God?

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