In this exclusive op-ed, top National Organization For Marriage watchdog Fred Karger explores and explains who’s funding NOM’s anti-gay campaign “to demonize the LGBT community and deny us our full equality.”
Maine vs. NOM
“It’s very frustrating to be dealing with such a litigious group as this. You have to wonder what they’re trying so desperately to protect,” Attorney General Janet Mills said.
This quote came last week, right after the Maine State Supreme Court ordered the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to turn over the names of its donors to the 2009 campaign NOM ran and funded to take away gay marriage in Maine. Brian Brown, NOM’s president has spent millions of dollars and countless hours (including his two long depositions conducted by the Attorney General) to keep their donors secret.
We now know from Brown’s depositions that three of his mega-contributors gave NOM $1 million, $400,000 and $300,000 to be used in the Maine election that year. Brown conveniently couldn’t remember the names of these three very generous donors when questioned by Maine Assistant Attorney General Thomas Knowlton a few months later.
All evidence points to the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) created NOM in 2007 to qualify and pass California’s Proposition 8 the following year. The Mormon Church conspired with the Catholic Church in California, but the Mormons got busted. The LDS Church raised $30 million of the $40 million it took to pass Prop 8. Between 2008 and 2009 the Mormon Church was also investigated, prosecuted, fined and found guilty on 13 counts of election fraud by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for all it did to pass Prop 8 and didn’t report. By the time Maine rolled around a year later, it appears that the Mormon Church had retreated and tried to fly under the radar.
But did the LDS Church or one of its wealthy members write out the $1 million check to NOM expecting that it would never be discovered? What about the Catholic Church? It was the face of the campaign to repeal Maine’s gay marriage law that year, but Catholic dioceses from around the country gave openly to pass Maine’s Question 1. Its political arm, the Knights of Columbus gave $50,000. So it’s unlikely that the Catholics wouldn’t launder additional money to NOM, and then go through
Maybe the big checks came from California’s Howard Ahmanson who gave $1,395,000 to pass Prop 8 or Philadelphia billionaire John Templeton, Jr. who gave $1,100,000 to pass Prop 8. These two men don’t seem to mind being publically identified opposing marriage equality, but lots of these mega-donors backed away from supporting NOM, because it was under investigation.
Jonathan Wayne, executive director of The Maine Commission on Governmental and Election Practices has indicated that its nearly four-year investigation of NOM should be wrapped up by September of this year. That’s just about four years from the day I went to testify before the Commission, filed my sworn complaint and asked them to investigate NOM for alleged campaign money laundering. It was an exciting day when the Commission voted to investigate NOM. After the vote and before his press conference Brian Brown excused himself from the proceedings and went to make one phone call. I would sure love to know exactly whom he called.
We were ridiculed when Danielle Avel and I produced 83 emails from NOM head Brian Brown, many of which appealed for money to help pass Maine’s Question 1. Brown’s emails often said, “Give your money directly to NOM and your names will be kept secret.” Then Brown denied that, in his sworn affidavit which he had “notarized” in Virginia before flying up to testify in front of the Ethics Committee.
Wonder if there is any law against filing a false and misleading affidavit when testifying before the Maine Commission on Governmental and Election Practices?
Huge Thanks Go Out to the State of Maine
I want to thank the courageous efforts of both the Maine Attorney General’s office and the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Both agencies have done the most incredible job of fighting back against NOM and its army of high priced attorneys for the past four years. Last week’s State Supreme Court ruling was a victory for everyone who believes in truth and transparency in elections.
Brian Brown and his National Organization for Marriage have worked overtime to demonize the LGBT community and deny us our full equality for half a decade. They have steadfastly refused to reveal where all their millions and millions of dollars to do so come from. Thanks to the courage and tenacity of Maine officials we will finally find out.
Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history, is an American political consultant, gay rights activist, watchdog, political pundit, writer, public speaker, author, former actor and was the 2012 candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Although he has never held elected office, Karger has worked on ten presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant during the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
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