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Is National Organization for Marriage Bankrupt?

NOM President Brian Brown

In an email claiming credit in stalling the Illinois marriage equality bill, National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown stated today that “NOM put everything we had into this fight”.  However, “everything” was reportedly only $125,000, according to NOM’s own emails and blog post as well as blog posts from another anti-gay organization focused on this debate.  From his blog post “The Tide Has Turned!” today:

NOM brought together a new coalition of African American pastors, stalwart Catholics and evangelicals, and other people of faith, along with lawyers, activists and child advocates joined with countless thousands of other individuals and groups, and together we achieved the impossible, defeating the deep-pockets of gay marriage activists and their sycophantic media boosters. …

Make no mistake about it, this was the most hotly-contested legislative battle in the nation. NOM put everything we had into this fight.

Sounds like NOM did it all and spent a bundle in the process, doesn’t it?  But just a few days ago in the blog post “Please Help Us Save Marriage In Illinois“, NOM was claiming a much humbler role:

NOM has joined forces with the African American Clergy Coalition and other allies on the ground, investing upwards of $125,000 to support a variety of activities including calling the constituents of wavering Representatives, alerting the citizens of Illinois to the threat to marriage in their state, and helping them take action to protect marriage.

Either NOM is telling the truth about only spending $125,000 in Illinois, which means that they are essentially broke, or they are flush with cash but choosing to keep quiet about money passed under the table or otherwise spent in an unreportable fashion.

Both scenarios are believable.

It’s long been known that NOM was primarily supported by just five deep-pocketed individuals or entities.  If those individuals or entities have come to see marriage discrimination as a net money sink, they may have taken their money elsewhere, leaving NOM in much-reduced circumstances.

On the other hand, NOM has a solid history of shunning fiscal sunshine.  They’ve even been willing to break the law and lose repeatedly in court to avoid obeying campaign donor disclosure laws.  So it is entirely believable that NOM might have spent a substantial sum in Illinois, but in ways that would be embarrassing if reported publicly.

In his email today, Mr. Brown announced a new “Win More States” fund, which has the whiff of desperation about it.

Today NOM is announcing the formation of a “Win More States” fund. Contributions to this fund will be devoted to fighting the good fight for the truth of marriage in key battleground states. We will use this fund to supplement the grassroots activism and public education we already conduct to make sure that we give everything we have to preserving marriage whenever it is under attack. There are many states in play that could use our help right now — Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey, Nevada, Indiana, etc. — and the Win More States Fund will be the vehicle to allow us to devote even more resources to the cause.

NOM is by definition a fund to defeat marriage equality, so why this pretense of a new fund?  The disclaimer on NOM’s donation page already tells donors that “No funds will be earmarked or reserved”, so NOM doesn’t have separate funds.

Perhaps NOM is supposedly launching this new “fund” for the same reason it suddenly started claiming to have had a pivotal role in the Illinois debate: NOM is broke and desperate to maintain the facade of a past dynamism.  Just because it probably wasn’t responsible for Illinois’s stalled marriage bill wouldn’t stop an unethical organization like NOM from whistling in the wind while claiming credit and attempting to fundraise off the situation.

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Is National Organization For Marriage Bankrupt?

NOM President Brian Brown

In an email claiming credit in stalling the Illinois marriage equality bill, National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown stated today that “NOM put everything we had into this fight”.  However, “everything” was reportedly only $125,000, according to NOM’s own emails and blog post as well as blog posts from another anti-gay organization focused on this debate.  From his blog post “The Tide Has Turned!” today:

NOM brought together a new coalition of African American pastors, stalwart Catholics and evangelicals, and other people of faith, along with lawyers, activists and child advocates joined with countless thousands of other individuals and groups, and together we achieved the impossible, defeating the deep-pockets of gay marriage activists and their sycophantic media boosters. …

Make no mistake about it, this was the most hotly-contested legislative battle in the nation. NOM put everything we had into this fight.

Sounds like NOM did it all and spent a bundle in the process, doesn’t it?  But just a few days ago in the blog post “Please Help Us Save Marriage In Illinois“, NOM was claiming a much humbler role:

NOM has joined forces with the African American Clergy Coalition and other allies on the ground, investing upwards of $125,000 to support a variety of activities including calling the constituents of wavering Representatives, alerting the citizens of Illinois to the threat to marriage in their state, and helping them take action to protect marriage.

Either NOM is telling the truth about only spending $125,000 in Illinois, which means that they are essentially broke, or they are flush with cash but choosing to keep quiet about money passed under the table or otherwise spent in an unreportable fashion.

Both scenarios are believable.

It’s long been known that NOM was primarily supported by just five deep-pocketed individuals or entities.  If those individuals or entities have come to see marriage discrimination as a net money sink, they may have taken their money elsewhere, leaving NOM in much-reduced circumstances.

On the other hand, NOM has a solid history of shunning fiscal sunshine.  They’ve even been willing to break the law and lose repeatedly in court to avoid obeying campaign donor disclosure laws.  So it is entirely believable that NOM might have spent a substantial sum in Illinois, but in ways that would be embarrassing if reported publicly.

In his email today, Mr. Brown announced a new “Win More States” fund, which has the whiff of desperation about it.

Today NOM is announcing the formation of a “Win More States” fund. Contributions to this fund will be devoted to fighting the good fight for the truth of marriage in key battleground states. We will use this fund to supplement the grassroots activism and public education we already conduct to make sure that we give everything we have to preserving marriage whenever it is under attack. There are many states in play that could use our help right now — Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey, Nevada, Indiana, etc. — and the Win More States Fund will be the vehicle to allow us to devote even more resources to the cause.

NOM is by definition a fund to defeat marriage equality, so why this pretense of a new fund?  The disclaimer on NOM’s donation page already tells donors that “No funds will be earmarked or reserved”, so NOM doesn’t have separate funds.

Perhaps NOM is supposedly launching this new “fund” for the same reason it suddenly started claiming to have had a pivotal role in the Illinois debate: NOM is broke and desperate to maintain the facade of a past dynamism.  Just because it probably wasn’t responsible for Illinois’s stalled marriage bill wouldn’t stop an unethical organization like NOM from whistling in the wind while claiming credit and attempting to fundraise off the situation.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding