The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted unanimously last week to investigate the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for not disclosing the names of donors surrounding its efforts to oust state Supreme Court justices.
The matter surrounds campaigns conducted during the 2010 election, where the organization worked successfully to unseat three justices, including the chief justice, after the court upheld same-sex marriage in the state.
Fred Karger, a homosexual activist and Republican from California who ran for president in 2012, filed a complaint against the organization in Iowa this June. He has done so in the past in Maine and California, but officials were unable to find any legal violations in those states.
“We caught them, and I’m so grateful for the [Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board] for moving forward on this investigation because we’ll find out where this money’s coming from,” Karger told reporters following the vote to proceed with the investigation. “They’ll say and do anything to raise money.”
However, NOM said that Karger’s actions amount to a “witch hunt” and that he has become “serial” in filing frivolous complaints.
“The National Organization for Marriage has violated no campaign finance rules in Iowa, and we decry the decision by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to open an investigation,” Brian Brown, President of NOM, said in a statement. “This inquiry is a witch hunt spawned by a delusional homosexual activist who fancies himself becoming the president of the United States and who is a serial filer of frivolous allegations against us whenever we stand up for traditional marriage. The complaint is another attempt to shut down criticism of activist judges and politicians who wish to redefine marriage.”
At issue is whether or not groups are required to make public the names of those who donate during campaign efforts. Karger asserts that it is required by law, and NOM contends otherwise. The organization states that homosexual activists have been wanting to obtain their donor list “in order to harass NOM’s supporters.” It pointed to a website that is already being used to decry the pro-family group’s efforts.
Brown states, however, that what is most unsettling is that way that the organization is being portrayed in light of the investigation.
“We are concerned about media reports quoting officials with the Ethics Board speculating about the allegations against us,” said Brown. “This is reminiscent of the IRS scandal where the government illegally leaked confidential information to our political opponents. We will vigorously contest any suggestion that NOM has violated the law, and we will aggressively demand that our civil rights, including a presumption of innocence, be honored by Iowa government officials.”
The Act Right Legal Foundation is now representing the organization before the board.
“[Karger thinks organizations] must always and everywhere disclose all of its activities and donors. This is not the law in any state or of the United States,” it said in a recent statement.
Karger has also filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.