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Breaking: Romney PAC donated $10K to NOM under the radar, fueling anti-gay org’s race-based strategy

A $10K PAC donation is exposed in never-before-seen National Organization for Marriage financial documents. The Human Rights Campaign was exclusively able to obtain the private 2008 IRS filing from NOM via a whistleblower. It shows a contribution from an obscure Alabama PAC belonging to Romney, rather than from Mittens himself.

Scott Wooledge asks the pertinent question — “How Much Racial Division and Hostility Did Mitt Romney Buy with His $10,000 Donation to NOM?

Was Mitt Romney among the privileged few high-dollar donors who got an “eyes-only” glimpse at NOM’s confidential strategy memos?

In other words, it’s worth asking: what did Mitt Romney know, and when did he know it? To be fair, Romney’s 2008 donation predates the materials that have been made public. But his relationship, and that of his Church — a major donor to NOM — continues. And it stands to reason that there were 2008 versions of this strategy memo, as well as 2010, 2011, and 2012 versions. The mind shudders to imagine what is in the ones we haven’t seen.

NOM’s disgusting strategy to fight marriage equality efforts by driving a political wedge between the black and gay communities was exposed last week, and the leading candidate for the GOP nomination funded NOM’s tactics under the table, while proclaiming his support for Prop 8. HRC:

“Mitt Romney’s funding of a hate-filled campaign designed to drive a wedge between Americans is beyond despicable,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Not only has Romney signed NOM’s radical marriage pledge, now we know he’s one of the donors that NOM has been so desperate to keep secret all these years.”

The contribution from Romney’s “Free and Strong America” PAC, donated while NOM was engaged in passing California’s Proposition 8, was revealed in NOM’s 2008 IRS 990 report, which HRC obtained from a whistleblower.  The document (the public version of which normally has the donor names redacted) is available here.

HRC reviewed copies of Romney’s “Free and Strong America” PAC’s filings with the Federal Election Commission and no contribution to NOM was disclosed in 2008.  However, knowing that oftentimes federal leadership PACs create state PAC entities in places where contribution limits do not exist or disclosure laws are lax, HRC did discover an Alabama-based “Free and Strong America” PAC that in 2008 does disclose the $10,000 contribution to NOM.  Available on page 3 at:

In an October 28, 2008 article in Utah’s Deseret News, Romney’s spokesperson claims they have made a contribution to Prop. 8, but there is no evidence of disclosure of a contribution to the effort.  If Romney’s spokesperson is accurate, then both Romney’s PAC and NOM may have violated California disclosure laws.

“For what other purpose would you contribute $10,000 to NOM three weeks before the election other than Prop 8?” said Solmonese.  “The question that now remains is whether this whole thing was an attempt for Mitt Romney to fund the Prop 8 battle without his own fingerprints.”

HRC exposed NOM’s divisive strategy this week in documents that were disclosed by a court in Maine as part of an ongoing campaign finance investigation into the organization.  NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond called NOM’s tactics “one of the most cynical things I’ve ever heard.”

“Mitt Romney must be held to account.  You can’t at one point say you’ll be better for gays than Ted Kennedy and then turn around and fund one of the most divisive, far-right strategies ever devised to deny rights to gay people,” said Solmonese.

Additionally, HRC launched an online action encouraging fair-minded Americans to contact Mitt Romney and tell him to disavow NOM’s divisive strategy.

As Sam Stein reports at Huff Post, the response from the Romney campaign leaves much to be desired given the trail of that check to NOM.

Asked for comment, an aide to Romney said that the donation was made through the Alabama chapter of the Free and Strong America PAC. State records confirm this. However, the 990 NOM filed lists the donation as having come from PO Box 79226 in Belmont, Massachusetts.

And in the six-degrees-of-separation mode, Robert George, the chairman emeritus of NOM and the author of two federal marriage amendments, sits on the editorial board of the Deseret News. George was appointed this week by Speaker Boehner to the U.S. Commission for International Freedom.

The issue at hand here is that Romney, along with remaining GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all signed on to NOM’s marriage pledge:

  • Support and send to the states a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  • Defend DOMA in court,
  • Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution,
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters,
  • Support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage.

Obviously they were shucking and jiving to win the favor of Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown. Since the race and religion-based divide and conquer agenda has been uncovered, none of them have denounced NOM. As Think Progress reported, many leaders are speaking out about NOM’s tactics. It’s time for Romney and the rest of the GOP Clown Car to weigh in.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding