Maine Ethics Panel Fines NOM $50,250, Orders It to Disclose Donors in Anti-Gay Marriage Campaign


The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices has found the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) guilty of money laundering and failure to file campaign reports in a unanimous vote, the Kennebec Journal reports:

Eastman_brownThe vote follows an investigation by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices that found the National Organization for Marriage concealed its operations and donors during its successful bid to repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law in 2009.

The vote also means that the state will require the National Organization for Marriage to register as a ballot question committee and disclose its donors from the campaign over five years ago.

…In 2009, NOM poured more than $2 million into the $3 million referendum campaign to repeal the law. Brian Brown, the executive director of NOM, was an operating officer on Stand for Marriage Maine, the Maine-based ballot question committee that registered with the state. Prior to the vote, ethics commission members argued that Brown’s dual roles on the Maine committee and NOM allowed the organization to shield its donors and skirt Maine’s donor disclosure law.

The ethics investigation used bank statements and campaign literature to show that NOM used its nonprofit status to draw donations earmarked for the Maine referendum – a violation of Maine election law.

Images via Fred Karger on Facebook here and here.

Karger, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and activist who filed the complaint against NOM in Maine, has been doggedly pursuing NOM's illegal tactics in Maine and other states.

The Journal adds:

“NOM definitely picked the wrong state to break the law,” Karger said.

Karger said the ruling could assist an investigation that he filed in Iowa in 2013. He is also considering filing another complaint in New Hampshire, where NOM attempted to repeal that state’s same-sex marriage law.

Both Iowa and New Hampshire are mentioned in the 37-page report by the commission’s staff.

NOM is already saying it will not comply with the ruling, according to Karger: