Poor Brian Brown.
It has not been a good week for him and his Mormon front group, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
With two more states (Maine and Iowa) considering investigations of his organization for improper reporting of campaign contributions and money laundering, plus the on-going ten month investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC Case #08-735), Brian went on the offensive on Friday and sent out the email below to all his supporters and the media.
We are happy to see that Brian has responded to our complaint by trying to stop NOM's money laundering in Maine. In our August 26, 2009 complaint letter and request for an investigation to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, we cited many pieces of evidence to back our money laundering claims by NOM.
In numerous emails after Prop 8, Brian wrote to his supporters instructing them to give their money directly to NOM, so that their names would be kept secret and not included in campaign reports. Brown repeatedly made statements in his emails such as:
"And unlike in California, every dollar you give to NOM's Northeast Action Plan today is private, with no risk of harassment from gay marriage protesters."
"Donations to NOM are not tax-deductible and they are not public information, either."
"Your gift is confidential: no public disclosure!"
NOM Stops Money Laundering?
Now that the Maine Ethics Commission will be considering an investigation of NOM on October 1st, poor Brian had to change his money pitch. Now he says in the 3rd paragraph of his email of Friday, September 4th:
"Money is going to be critical to getting the message out; the campaign needs to make ad buys this week, so if you can possibly spare just $10 or $100 this week, do not give it to me -- go to StandforMarriageMaine.com and fight back!"
Better late than never, Brian.
Your supporters must identify themselves when they contribute $50 or more to Stand for Marriage Maine. They cannot launder it through your NOM. That is what we suspect happened with the $250,000 that NOM contributed to Stand for Marriage Maine several weeks ago.
Whoops, the Money Still Goes to NOM!
However, there is one problem with your new approach. In your email pitch for Stand for Marriage Maine, the donate button directs donors to give money to NOM! We tested it out, and a friend gave the minimum amount and put it on his credit card. Sure enough, the contribution went directly to NOM.
Was this done by mistake? Will you disclose all of the contributors' names of $50 or more to NOM from September 4, 2009 forward to Maine election officials? We certainly hope so.
And we hope that for the remaining 2 months until Election Day, the National Organization for Marriage and your friends, the Diocese of Portland, the Knights of Columbus of Washington, DC, and James Dobson's Focus on the Family will fully comply with all Maine election laws. These laws are in place so that voters know who is contributing to their elections before they vote.
FPPC Investigating NOM & Mormon (LDS) Church
I was also particularly interested in your email's rebuff of another charge that is currently being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
You stated that, "The LDS church is not responsible for NOM's formation, and NOM has never received any promise of assistance from Salt Lake. Salt Lake is not responsible for NOM's activities and the continued press suggestions are unfair to the the LDS church leadership and to Mormons in America generally."
Sounds kind of ambiguous to me. What do you mean by "promise of assistance?"
The Mormon Church does not deny its involvement in the Northeast, but its name does not appear on any of the campaign reports.
NPR reported last week that Frank Schubert, who ran the Prop 8 campaign in California last year for the Mormon Church, has come to Maine to do the same thing.
Schubert said, "The reality is that this is a national campaign. People around the country and internationally are looking at what's going to happen in Maine. Both sides are doing what they can to marshal support wherever they can find support. It will be a pitched battle."
Come on, the Mormon Church is not running and supporting NOM today?
How Do You Spell F-R-O-N-T G-R-O-U-P?
It's just your boss, Maggie Gallagher and you doing all that you are doing in 11 states across the country to ban same-sex marriage? You two really must be super-human. And you do all of this work in a little one room office in Washington, DC with no support staff?
We assumed that the Mormon Church and its renowned Public Affairs Committee in Salt Lake City were making all of your slick TV and radio commercials, doing your polling, fund-raising, web sites, direct mail, robo-calling, direct connects, research and strategy and hiring and working with lobbyists just as they have done in California and many of the other states that have banned same-sex marriage.
Washington Post Story
Saw the nice profile of you in the Washington Post on August 28th. It described you as a new kinder, gentler anti-gay leader. Well, that sure sparked an uproar. It seems that lots of people who know you and all that you have done to fight marriage equality across this country don't agree. So the Post's Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander wrote a story entitled, "Sanity and a Smile and an Outpouring of Rage." It's great reading.
Brian, let's see your 990 for 2008? And while you're at it, let's see your amended 990 for 2007. We requested both 990s in person and by certified mail to your Princeton, New Jersey office way back in early March. Someone signed the U.S. Post Office receipt on March 25th, but you have refused to send us your filings for your first two years in business.
A blogger finally found your amended 990 return for 2007, and it was interesting reading. I particularly like the $166,000 that NOM gave to Common Sense America (CSA). We see that you are its Chairman and that you share your tiny Princeton, NJ office with CSA.
You got $57,000 for 6 months work from NOM in 2007 according the report. That's pretty good money, plus the $166,000 = $223,000 from June through December 2007? That's more than President Obama makes in 6 months!
Brian, let's be honest and abide by both federal and state reporting laws. And please, show us who is giving you all those millions.