National Organization for Marriage "Ruth Institute Comes Close to Admitting Guilt in Campaign"

by HRC Staff

Institute's president says she "inadvertently blurred the lines"

Washington-- In the aftermath of the IRS complaint filed by the Human Rights Campaign and Courage Campaign charging the sister organization of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) with engaging in illegal political campaign activities, the president of that organization responded to the charges at a Michigan conference last night, saying she may have "inadvertently blurred the lines" in her political campaign activities." The Kalamazoo Gazette reported the comments made by Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, at a Michigan conference.

"Morse's reaction to the IRS complaint last night was basically 'I didn't mean to,' said Kevin Nix, NOM Project Director for the Human Rights Campaign. "In a nation of laws, that defense doesn't fly. As the President of a nonprofit aligned so closely with the highly-visible, $12 million National Organization for Marriage, Ruth and NOM should have known better. Campaign finance laws exist for reason. And apply even to fringe groups."

The IRS complaint filed last week argues the Ruth Institute "has repeatedly and flagrantly violated the political campaign activity prohibition of section 501(c) (3) by intervening and participating in multiple candidate campaigns. In the past year Ruth Institute resources have illegally been used to advocate for a U.S. Senate candidate as well as local and statewide judicial candidates." HRC and the Courage Campaign cite the repeated involvement of the Ruth Institute in Carly Fiorina's Senate race and in judicial elections in California and Iowa as clear violations of federal law.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reported that "Morse did not mention this complaint to the IRS in her Kalamazoo speech, but in an interview afterward she said she may have 'inadvertently blurred the lines' in her political activities. She added, however, that she never intended to violate her group's nonprofit status and that she spoke at an Oct. 4 rally for Fiorina as a private citizen."This video and this NOM-issued press release make clear Morse did not speak as a private citizen.

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.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email