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:


  1. says

    I hope they get nailed in every state they did this.

    Apparently Karger was witness to this as well:

    @NOMupdate Chair John Eastman said at press conference today that NOM now going to file ethics violation against @HRC

    The irony of them filing an “ethics” violation against the HRC is… bwahaha!! I hope they get what they deserve for hurting so many people.

  2. bkmn says

    I’d like a few more rulings against them to up the amount of the fine to the point that they would be shut down. Seize any private property in the state that is currently owned by anyone affialiated with NOM.

    Make their lives hell.

  3. Bill says

    According to it looks like NOM can stall for a bit longer – the ethics commission will finalize its ruling in June and NOM has a right to appeal the decision in Superior Court within 30 days after the final ethics commission ruling.

    Since NOM wants to delay the inevitable, we can expect an appeal on the 29th day after the finalized ruling (maybe the 30th – its an “off by one” thing about the exact legal wording, which the article didn’t give).

  4. ian says

    i think they are more concerned about releasing their donors names that the fine. sure the fine sucks, but they have an agreement with their donors to maintain their anonimity. while i think that is base cowardice on their donors part i also sense that attacking the donors should they be revealed would be counter productive for us. even here davids comment above “it’s time for the witch hunt to be on the other foot. huh?” seems to relish the opportunity to threaten NOMS donors, which is wrong, and something they will use to claim victim status.

  5. Philly says

    The more they try to hide it, the more I want to see THOSE NAMES on that list.

    Who the hell is so important they’d rather not be linked as contributor to the National Homophobe Party?

  6. jerriblank says

    @IAN – Agreed that actually going after the names once they’re published could backfire. But the important thing for NOM is to not have those names published, period — whether or not anything happens after publication. Donors are much less likely to donate in a transparent environment, which means NOMs donations will dry up significantly. They rely almost entirely on a small handful of very large donors who require anonymity.

  7. Liam says

    Ian: the reason they want to remain hidden is because they know what they are doing is shameful. They need to be exposed and shamed. It is as simple as that. If you give money to a hate group you should be proud of it and be willing to stand up in public and say you did it.

  8. Gay Guy says

    First of all, a public utterance of the intent not to comply with a court order is contempt of court (even more so than quietly not complying)!

    Second, NOM should be decertified in Maine. Then, nobody could make a tax-free donation (at least nobody could claim it on a Maine tax return).

  9. Bill says

    NOM, the fact of the matter IS that the PEOPLE of the state of Maine voted to APPROVBE same-sex marriage. NOM has NO business whatsoever pouring money into what is not their concern.

    Now we all know if it were you or I giving and not disclosing we’d be in jail, ALL of the NOM members involved with this should also be incarcerated, preferably on another planet!

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