AUGUSTA, MAINE — In one of the boldest attempts to circumvent a state election law in recent memory, the Washington, DC based National Organization for Marriage (NOM) filed suit in Federal Court yesterday to wipe out Maine’s campaign reporting law. NOM is the biggest contributor by far to Question 1, which would rescind Maine’s recently enacted same-sex marriage law. The Maine Ethics Commission voted on October 1, 2009 to launch an investigation of NOM for improper reporting and possible money laundering charges at the request of Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate. Karger filed a formal complaint on August 24, 2009 against NOM and the Yes on Question 1 committee, Stand for Marriage Maine.
“These people come into Maine from Washington, DC fully aware of the state election laws, pay $350,000 to professional signature gatherers to qualify their referendum to take away the rights of a minority, and then have the audacity to sue the state to change its years old election laws,” said Fred Karger. “They did the identical thing in California after that state’s ethics commission, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, launched an investigation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), and the very same National Organization for Marriage, whom many feel was created by the Mormon Church.”
“Do they think they are in Afghanistan or Iran?” asked Karger. “We have long-standing laws in this country which allow for free and open elections, but NOM continues to try and get around these state and federal laws at every opportunity. The State of Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices showed tremendous courage when its Commissioners voted to investigate the highly questionable finances of the National Organization for Marriage at its October 1st meeting. This was done under the threat of a law suit. They are to be commended for standing up for transparency and truth in Maine elections.”
Here is a copy of the AP story: Anti-gay Marriage Group Challenges Reporting Requirements
Copy of Law Suit: Motion for Temporary Restraining Order
The Actual Complaint – Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
The National Organization for Marriage has already contributed over $500,000 to Stand for Marriage Maine, Yes on Question 1, but refuses to file as a PAC in Maine. This is 100 times the $5,000 PAC requirement. It appears that all other committees raising money for Question 1 have complied with the law, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, that has given over $350,000 to the election.