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NOM Doubles Its Maine War Chest, Claims Special Rights

Jim Burroway

October 24th, 2009

The Bangor Daily News reports that Stand for Marriage Maine, the group pushing to strip LGBT Mainers of their right to marry, has almost doubled its war chest in the past three weeks. They raised $1.4 million in October, bringing their total amount raised to $2.6 million, according to reports filed Friday with the Maine Ethics Commission. Guess where the money came from:

But $1.1 million of the $1.4 million raised by Stand for Marriage Maine in October came from a single source: the National Organization for Marriage. In fact, the Washington, D.C., organization has bankrolled more than 60 percent of the campaign to ban same-sex marriages in Maine.

The No on 1 campaign, meanwhile, claims to have received contributions from more than 22,000 donors, compared to slightly more than 700 donors to the opposing camp.

This brings NOM’s total investment to $1.5 million, according to the Associated Press. By my calculations, that’s actually 58% of the total. But still, that’s pretty amazing. One out-of-state special interest group is trying to purchase an election, lock, stock and barrel.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has contributed a total of $550,000 to the “yes” campaign. Another $114,500 came from Focus On the Family. Together, these three groups alone account for 83% of Stand for Marriage Maine’s total budget.

And yet, despite the fact that the National Organization for Marriage is paying the lion’s share of the bill, they are in court demanding that they be held above Maine’s financial disclosure laws:

NOM’s financial role in the Maine campaign will be discussed in federal court in Portland on Monday when a judge hears arguments in a complaint the group filed against the state.

Earlier this month, the Maine Ethics Commission voted 3-2 to investigate whether NOM was skirting campaign finance laws in order to avoid disclosing the identities of contributors. A complaint against NOM alleges the organization, which played a key role in overturning California’s gay marriage law last November, funnels money to Stand for Marriage Maine while promising donors confidentiality.

NOM responded earlier this week by challenging the constitutionality of Maine’s law requiring “ballot question committees” to file detailed campaign finance reports.

Protect Maine EqualityMeanwhile, campaign finance reports also show that Protect Maine Equality has raised more than $4 million so far. This includes $1.4 million raised in October, matching Stand for Marriage Maine’s fundraising from the same period. While the nearly 80% of the Yes side’s money during that period came from NOM, most of Protect Maine Equality’s fundraising came from individual donors during the same period.

Protect Maine Equality also reports some large donors, but nothing like the outright attempted purchase of an entire campaign by NOM. According to the Bangor Daily News, Portland resident Donald Sussman has contributed more than $500,000. The Human Rights Campaign kicked in $220,000 in donations and in-kind goods and services, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has contributed about $140,000 in funds, goods, and services.

Altogether, these three major donors make up only 22% of Protect Maine Equality’s total take. The rest, as they say, comes from people like you. Please donate today.

Comments

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thetroubleis
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you for posting this. As a Mainer, I’m pissed that at all the lying that is happening by the opposition.

I can only hope that hate won’t win.

Emily K
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

Now that I have regular full-time employment, I’ll donate some $$. I was also approved for Food Stamps recently. So my belt is getting a bit looser. I can almost breathe again.

Richard Rush
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I think we were led to believe there was a legally mandated deadline for donations earlier in October. I recall the deadline was a specific day and time. What was that all about?

Eddie89
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

I wonder if the Mormons are funneling money into NOM and then NOM sends it to Stand for Marriage in Maine?

I suppose that the LDS church learned it’s lesson from Prop. 8 and is now funding anti-marriage equality campaigns more discreetly.

Anyone know if the council of the 12 has put out the call for Mormons to contribute to SFM?

Dan
October 25th, 2009 | LINK

Richard:

No one ever said there was a deadline after which you couldn’t donate. I believe that you are thinking about reporting deadlines. On certain specific dates, both sides have to report what they have received and what they have spent. One deadline was midnight on September 30. The campaign asked for people to donate in advance of that deadline in order to show the media and the world that they had strong financial support. But that was not the last opportunity to donate.

David
October 25th, 2009 | LINK

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has contributed a total of $550,000 to the “yes” campaign.”

First the Mormons taint the Prop 8 campaign in California and now the Roman Catholic Diocese is donating over half a million to the anti-gay referendum in Maine.

So much for separation of church and state. I hope this is challenged in court if it’s approved and I hope the suit makes the church influence an issue for overturning it.

Richard Rush
October 25th, 2009 | LINK

Dan: Thanks for the clarification. I didn’t know the full meaning of “reporting deadline.”

Chris McCoy
October 26th, 2009 | LINK

David said:

First the Mormons taint the Prop 8 campaign in California and now the Roman Catholic Diocese is donating over half a million to the anti-gay referendum in Maine.

So much for separation of church and state. I hope this is challenged in court if it’s approved and I hope the suit makes the church influence an issue for overturning it.

Unfortunately, the law as it stands currently, is that Churches are only barred from supporting specific individual candidates financially.

They are not barred from contributing financially to any propositions or measures, or to PACs, or to the political parties (RNC/DNC) themselves.

Additionally, they can give verbal support to candidates, including, hypothetically, telling church-goers that they will reap eternal punishment for not voting for a specific candidate.

Timothy Kincaid
October 26th, 2009 | LINK

Additionally, they can give verbal support to candidates, including, hypothetically, telling church-goers that they will reap eternal punishment for not voting for a specific candidate.

Chris,

You are mistaken. Churches cannot give verbal support to a candidate (though, of course, many do). That is in violation of IRS code and technically they could lose their tax exemption for contributions (a real biggie).* They cannot tell you to vote for Joe Smith, but they can tell you that you will burn in eternal torment if you vote for a candidate that supports the evil homosexual agenda.

* Interestingly, the only church I know of which the IRS pursued is Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal – a liberal church that supported a Democrat.

Chris McCoy
October 26th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

You are mistaken. Churches cannot give verbal support to a candidate (though, of course, many do). That is in violation of IRS code and technically they could lose their tax exemption for contributions.

Thanks for the correction. Mea Culpa. Had I done a little digging, I would have found this resource.

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