Saturday, September 5, 2009

NOM gets slapped in Iowa too.

Maggie Gallagher's hate group, the National Organization for Marriage, has been soliciting donations around the country to attack marriage equality. Part of what they promise is anonymity.
Letters and emails from NOM Executive Director Brian Brown .... stated:

“And unlike in California, every dollar you give to NOM’s Northeast Action Plan today is private, with no risk of harassment from gay marriage protestors.”
Only hiding your donors peeves ethics and openness standards of different states.

As mentioned yesterday, Maine's Ethics Commission is investigating, following a complaint from Californians Against Hate

And in Iowa, the Iowa Ethics Board is also cross:
In a August 27 letter, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, warns the National Organization for Marriage about their campaign activities in Iowa. Here are the key points of the warning:
>>only an “insignificant and insubstantial amount” of NOM’s income is permitted to come from business organizations

>>if advocacy activities in Iowa exceed $750, NOM must form a PAC and disclose contributors

>>“To continue to file an independent expenditure statement for future elections in Iowa would mean that your organization is not raising more than $750 from outside sources for such purposes”

Last Friday NOM filed an independent expenditure report for nearly $90,000 worth of ads. The letter makes clear that to continue to file in this manner would run afoul of Iowa election laws.
The Advocate reports:
NOM’s lawyer, Barry Bostrom, has flat-out denied the allegations, calling them “unfounded and scurrilous.”

“These accusations and complaints are intended to inhibit our freedom of speech and freedom of association,” Bostrom told The Iowa Independent. “But we intend to aggressively safeguard these rights, while complying with all state and federal laws.”

But Des Moines attorney Sharon Malheiro says the lack of transparency undermines the democratic process.

“Election laws are necessary to protect public confidence in our democratic system,” she says. “When outsiders try to pervert the justice system and work around the election laws of our state, our public officials must call them out and hold them accountable.”
Time for NOM to take off the hoods.

The only good news in this? That $90K in ads was to influence an election for the Iowa House, where a pro-equality Democrat was paired against an anti-equality Republican. But despite potentially breaking the law to donate secret monies, their candidate lost. Good on yer, Iowans!

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