The secret documents that show the divisive, racially-driven strategies of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have received enormous media attention since they were unsealed a day ago by a federal judge.
Receiving much less attention, however, is the fact that it all began with Fred Karger, the openly gay man who is running for the Republican nomination for President and has used his campaign to try to focus on the issue of marriage equality while criticizing the networks for not allowing him in the televised presidential debates.
Appearing on my radio program on SiriusXM OutQ on Monday, Karger explained how he'd filed a complaint, as the head of Californians Against Hate, with the Maine Ethics Commission back in 2009 regarding NOM's refusal to disclose the names of its donors. NOM contributed money to the ballot initiative in Maine in 2009 to ban gay marriage and under Maine election law the group was required to disclose its donors.
Karger had previously exposed the Mormon Church's involvement in the campaign to pass Prop 8 in California, which led to an investigation in that state which found the LDC church guilty of political malfeasance. The Maine Ethics Commission took Karger's complaint seriously, he said, and determined NOM had to disclose the donors. NOM refused and challenged the Maine law in federal court, eventually losing after being rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still pending is a separate appeal on another case; if NOM loses that case it must reveal the names of the donors, including three that had given over $1 million each.
"I saw that NOM was putting about $400,000 into the campaign without reporting any of it," Karger said. "I sent a letter to the ethics commission. They asked me to specifically file a formal complaint. And then they asked me to come and testify. It was 3-2 that they agreed to investigate NOM."
Karger explained confidential documents showing the racially-divisive strategies were among those that the Maine attorney general had collected from NOM after it decided to challenge the disclosure law in federal court. Now that the case is over, the federal judge in the case unsealed the documents. Karger says there could be more confidential documents coming.
Listen to the full interview below: