CommunityPam's House Blend

Will NOM flout campaign disclosure laws in Washington like they have in so many other states?

National Organization for Marriage acts as though it is above the law. And now NOM is coming to Washington.

Brian Brown, President of NOM

It has become a predictable pattern. NOM slinks into a state that is actively debating marriage equality, drops a mountain of cash into the campaign coffers of the anti-gay side, then breaks state campaign disclosure laws by bolting before reporting their political involvement or the identities of their donors to the state.

Campaign disclosure laws serve the public interest by helping the electorate “follow the money” to see who is trying to influence their voting decisions. NOM doesn’t want anyone to know who is behind its anti-gay crusade.

In state after state, courts have found NOM to be lawbreakers. Just last week, the Federal Appeals Court for the First Circuit ruled against NOM in a case stemming from NOM’s refusal to register as a ballot question committee in Maine as it financed the 2009 ballot attack on Maine’s new marriage equality law. Maine law requires certain individuals and donors who raise or spend money to influence a campaign to register with the state and make periodic reports about its contributors and expenditures.

“[The ruling in Maine] means that the National Organization for Marriage has to play by the same rules as everybody else,” said GLAD Attorney Mary L. Bonauto in a press release. Except that “has to” seems to fall on deaf ears at NOM. NOM continues to ignore the rules despite receiving similar judgments in several states across the country.

Rob McKenna, Attorney General of Washington

NOM has promised to be a big roller in Washington and run the referendum campaign to challenge Washington’s soon-to-be-passed marriage equality law. “[W]e are committed to helping mount a referendum campaign to overturn the law if it is enacted, just as we did in Maine and California,” said NOM president Brian Brown. “NOM was the largest contributor to both efforts. …The National Organization will work with allies in Washington to qualify a referendum to overturn the law, just as it did in Maine and California.”

All bets are that Joe Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell, Washington, was acting as NOM’s local intermediary when he announced yesterday that he has a $1 million commitment from an out-of-state backer to fund the referendum campaign. When asked who the financial backer is, he answered “I’m not going to say.” How NOM of him.

But here’s the clincher: who will hold NOM to the letter of the law in Washington? Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna just announced his opposition to marriage equality. He’ll have a hard time pretending to be “a different kind of Republican” if he turns a blind eye to NOM’s misdeeds.

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Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer