National Organization for Marriage Facing Ethics Investigation in Iowa

by HRC Staff

Washington – The Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board is looking into whether the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) violated state law by refusing to disclose the identities of its donors during its efforts to oust state Supreme Court justices in 2010 and 2012. NOM launched an aggressive campaign to interfere with the state’s independent judiciary in response to a 2009 unanimous ruling finding a ban on marriage equality in Iowa unconstitutional.

Specifically, NOM sent an email in September 2012 soliciting money to oust Justice David Wiggins. According to the Des Moines Register, NOM claims it is not required to release the names of donors who gave via phone or email. But the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board’s director says that’s just not true.

“This is just the latest example of how NOM doesn’t believe laws apply to them,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “NOM has a penchant for portraying themselves as a grassroots organization, but their own tax returns tell a different story. Brian Brown and his anti-gay cohorts went into Iowa with the goal of intimidating justices all across the country, and they did so with a reckless disregard for state law. We welcome this investigation and look forward to seeing the truth about NOM’s ongoing attempts to conceal their few, well-coiffed extremist donors again brought to light.”

The investigation follows a complaint brought by Fred Karger earlier this year. Karger is an equality advocate with a long history of taking on NOM.  HRC invested $145,000 in the successful effort to retain Justice David Wiggins in 2012.

In May, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that NOM must comply with subpoenas issued by the state’s Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices demanding information from NOM and its president, Brian Brown, including the names of donors. Maine authorities allege that, in 2009, NOM violated the state’s campaign finance laws by failing to disclose contributors to its ballot measure efforts.

More information about NOM’s anti-equality work is available at

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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