HRC Blog

NOM’s Law Firm Defended Racist Campaign

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

NOM President Brian Brown is organizing, fundraising and providing support for far-right and racially insensitive clients out of NOM’s K Street office via his relatively new ActRight properties, including the ActRight Legal Foundation. One of the group’s first clients was Minnesota Majority, which came under fire for producing a racist ad in Minnesota as part of its efforts aimed at passing a voter ID amendment that would have required voters to present a valid form of photo identification before voting.

The Minnesota Majority ad in question featured a number of offensive stereotypes implying certain people were committing voter fraud. The ad featured what were depicted to be fraudulent voters in line at a voting both, including an African-American convict and a man wearing a sombrero. After public outcry, MM edited the ad. The voter ID amendment failed on November 6, 2012.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Minnesota Majority’s executive director said it was ‘coincidental’ that the felon attempting to vote in the ad is an African American. The NAACP strongly condemned the ad, with NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous stating: “The Minnesota Majority advertisement plays into racial stereotypes that have no place in public debate.”

Yesterday, HRC reported that the NOM-funded campaign to reject marriage equality in Maryland accepted significant funding from a lawyer with active ties to a white supremacist, secessionist organization.

ActRight Legal Foundation is co-located with NOM in Washington D.C. and staffed mostly with lawyers from the Bopp Law Firm in Terra Haute, Indiana. James Bopp has made a career of challenging campaign finance laws and public disclosure to permit his clients to operate secretly and free of accountability. ActRight also serves as NOM’s new legal shop, representing it and its affiliated campaigns across the country.  

This is not the first time Brian Brown and NOM have worked with campaigns that attempt to create false racial divides as a means of advancing anti-gay discrimination. Earlier this year, HRC uncovered confidential NOM strategy documents that exposed the anti-gay organization’s plan to pit Latinos and African Americans against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The strategy laid out NOM’s hope to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” and to “interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

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