National Organization for Marriage Withholding Key Financial Documents in Violation of Federal Law

by HRC Staff

Human Rights Campaign files complaint with IRS to compel the anti-LGBT organization to release 990s as required by federal law


Washington– The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has repeatedly refused to make its 2012 990s publicly available following their November 15 deadline – a direct violation of federal law. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) first made an in-person request for the public financial documents last Friday morning and again today – both times, NOM was unable to produce the documents. Federal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made. As a result, HRC has filed a complaint with the IRS in order to compel NOM to abide by the law.

“NOM’s inability to meet one of the most basic accounting standards for any organization makes you wonder what exactly is going on – are they simply demonstrating the same flagrant disregard they have for numerous state campaign finance laws, or is there something in these documents that reflects even more poorly on the organization and their failed work?” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “Brian Brown apparently had enough time on Friday to pull together a fundraising email feigning outrage at the marriage equality victory in Hawaii, but didn’t have time to ensure his organization was running in accordance with the law. NOM should do the right thing and immediately release these financial documents that the public has a right to see.”

This isn’t the first time in the past year alone that NOM has run into trouble with finance laws. 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. And in Iowa, the state Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board is looking into whether NOM broke state law by refusing to disclose the identities of its donors during its efforts to oust state Supreme Court justices in 2010 and 2012. 

According to NOM’s 2011 990s, obtained by HRC last year, the anti-LGBT organization raised only $6.2 million, a precipitous drop from the $9.1 million it raised in 2010. The documents also revealed that nearly 75 percent of NOM’s fundraising came from just two deep-pocketed donors.

The anti-LGBT organization spent nearly $5.7 million on their unsuccessful field efforts to stem the tide of equality in 2012. Their losses included failed campaigns to prevent marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington; to write discrimination into Minnesota’s constitution; and to politicize Iowa’s judicial system.

2013 has exposed NOM’s anti-LGBT animus more than ever before, with the organization routinely straying beyond its so-called traditional marriage focus. Brian Brown has traveled to Russia twice this year, including to support a bill – now law – banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or parents living in countries where marriage equality is legal; and he even sent out a transphobic e-mail lashing out against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, in which he referred to transgender Americans by saying “if a man feels like being a woman, he is; but if he later decides he’s a man again, he’s that.”

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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