NOM must disclose donors

Timothy Kincaid

February 27th, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage has run out of appeals and must now disclose the identities of the handful of uber-rich donors who finance their role in the nation’s anti-marriage campaigns. (SCOTUSblog)

…the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a constitutional challenge to a Maine law that requires those seeking to raise and spend money in state election campaigns to organize as a political action committee for that activity, and make significant disclosures about their financial operations. That was challenged in a petition, National Organization for Marriage v. McKee (11-599), after the state law was upheld by the First Circuit Court.

This is probably a bigger blow to NOM than most realize. I believe that a significant purpose, if not their primary purpose, is and has been to shield the identities of these people and/or institutions from disclosure. They have allowed for significant portions of state campaigns to be financed without the public knowing who is behind the initiatives and without being held to any form of social consequence.

The timing is very fortuitous. While NOM may drag its feet, I think it likely that the identities will be revealed well before the elections in Washington and Maine.

As society is increasingly seeing the issue of marriage through the lens of fairness and justice, spending huge sums to bar gay people from full inclusion under civil law is increasingly seen as either based in malice or an allocation of funds that could have gone to a far better cause.

It’s not a happy day in NOMville. But, true to form, they are pretending that the world is going just according to their script and there is nary a mention of this catastrophic loss on their blog.

Lindoro Almaviva

February 27th, 2012

well, the question is, what if they refuse? What legal recdourse do we have to make them comply?

Jim Hlavac

February 27th, 2012

Lindoro, if they refuse, they are both in contempt of court, and doing something illegal, and ergo, the State of Maine and its duly constituted authorities and its courts would act to ensure their ruling is complied with. Since it could be construed as a federal matter, and interstate at that, well, then, the FBI and DOJ could step in. Or they themselves will be taken to court for dereliction of duty. But, in general, judges hate for their decisions to not be followed; they are rarely amused.

james

February 27th, 2012

probably the reason they are acting like its business as usual is because it is. i doubt they will take any action at all. i doubt the officials in maine will take any action at all. no one will reveal anything and NOM will continue to operate as if nothing happened. i hate to be cynical about the procedure but maybe ill be proven wrong.

Ben In Oakland

February 27th, 2012

Donors.

Doners is where NOM is going on this issue.

tristram

February 27th, 2012

It’s the lack of disclosure that lets Brian Brown parachute into New Hampshire with his bags of cash from the Catholic Church and pretend that it came from “our 60,000 members.”

Ravenbiker

February 27th, 2012

Gee, who doesn’t kow this?:

“As society is increasingly seeing the issue of marriage through the lens of fairness and justice, spending huge sums to bar gay people from full inclusion under civil law is increasingly seen as either based in malice or an allocation of funds that could have gone to a far better cause.”

It happens all the time.

Bose in St. Peter MN

February 27th, 2012

It has seemed clear to me that NOM has been gunning for a Supreme Court case that would add a second huge punch to Citizens United: That sources of unlimited funds should be permanently and irrevocably private, or at least private under some limited terms that would apply to NOM donors.

Quite the slap in the face that the Supremes didn’t even want to pick up the phone on this one, though.

werdna

February 27th, 2012

Mmmm, doners .

occono

February 27th, 2012

James, you really don’t need to be cynical about this. The lack of action until now was because NOM appealed and appealed. Now, the situation is very different.

StraightGrandmother

February 27th, 2012

There is a guy named David who seems to be following this case closely. He is making really insightful comments at GoodAsYou

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2012/02/end-of-the-line-for-noms-maine-based-secrecy.html

mark in washington

February 28th, 2012

This issue has already been decided in Washington state. Those persons signing initiative petitions are signing a public document. Similarly those donating to an initiative in any way shape or form are also not shielded.

Theo

February 28th, 2012

Kincaid, your post is off. The case was about whether the Maine election law was constitutional, not whether NOM is required to disclose its donors. If NOM had won on the constitutionality issue, it definitely wouldn’t have to disclose. Since it lost, it may have to disclose. The Maine elections commission will now decide that issue.

BTW, I do wish someone on the planet other than me would take notice of the outrageous hypocrisy of NOM’s suit. For years, NOM has been railing against unelected judges in CA who thwart the will of the people. But in Maine, NOM demanded that an unelected federal judge strike down Maine’s Clean Election Act, which was passed by ballot initiative in 1998. The vote was 56%-44%, a greater margin than was achieved by Prop 8 or Question 1. Apparently, sometimes it is alright for unelected judges to overrule the people.

TampaZekex

February 28th, 2012

@Theo, great point!

blue-heron

February 28th, 2012

This appears to be nowhere in the Mainstream [Straight] News.

Let’s ask them to cover the story:

http://www.cnn.com/feedback/show/?s=storyidea

editorial@thedailybeast.com

TN

February 28th, 2012

What happens if they ignore it? How far does this go? I mean, can Brian and Maggie get arrested? I don’t think any reasonable DA would do that so they really don’t have to release anything.

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