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Check out this excellent Bangor Daily News Editorial (12/26/09) calling out NOM for violating Maine’s election laws. NOM did not report any of its contributor’s names, and it gave $1.9 million (64% of all money raised) to defeat same-sex marriage in last month’s election. Then NOM sued Maine election officials to invalidate all campaign reporting:
Campaign Clarity Needed
By BDN Staff
A lawsuit involving a national group opposed to gay marriage has far-reaching implications for the state’s campaign reporting and financing laws, especially since the National Organization for Marriage said it plans to advocate for supporters of “traditional marriage” in next year’s election.
In October, NOM filed suit in federal court claiming Maine’s referendum campaign finance reporting requirements were overly burdensome and, therefore, unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the group amended its complaint to U.S. District Court to include candidate elections. If its challenge is upheld, it would leave a big hole in the state’s reporting requirements and its Clean Election financing program, which relies on candidates’ reporting of donations to determine whether matching funds are warranted.
The group, based in New Jersey, contributed nearly $2 million to Stand for Marriage Maine, which successfully advocated a repeal of the state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. NOM has refused to disclose to state election officials where its money came from. State law requires groups or individuals that raise more than $5,000 to support or oppose a ballot question to register as a ballot question committee. Anyone who donates more than $100 to the committee must be identified in campaign finance reports.
The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices is investigating whether NOM violated state campaign finance laws by refusing to name its donors in connection with Question 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Attorneys for the group have argued that listing donors would discourage contributions because people would be afraid of retaliation.
Gay marriage is an emotional issue, but citing fear as a reason to flout the law is an unpersuasive argument, especially when thousands of donors are named — complete with their home or businesses addresses and occupations — on campaign finance reporting forms filed by groups on both sides of Question 1. National groups have been involved in many contentious campaigns since Maine’s reporting requirements have been in place. None has refused to comply with the law.
At the same time, there are varying levels of compliance. Some groups simply list “fund transfer” as a source of funding.
NOM’s argument that it raises money nationally to be used in many different states, rather than for a campaign in a specific state, is more complex. A close look at the group’s fundraising literature will clarify whether it was raising money for the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine. If it was, reporting is necessary, as it should also be for other national groups that contribute to Maine campaigns.
It may be that lawmakers need to reconsider Maine’s ballot committee law to clarify how such national fundraising should be handled, especially since it could influence Clean Election funding next year.
The bottom line is that Maine voters should be able to know who is trying to influence their vote.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Fred Karger
December 22, 2009
Utah Congressman Chaffetz Leads Effort to Dump Recently Enacted Gay Marriage Law in Washington, DC
Salt Lake City, UT — Mormon freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), ranking Republican on the Congressional subcommittee that oversees Washington, DC, is now trying to undue the District’s new law that allows same-sex marriage in our nation’s capitol. Congress has 30 days to overturn that law.
The president of the National Organization for Marriage, which was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) two years ago to fight gay marriage throughout the country, announced last week that they would go to the ballot and to the courts to overturn marriage equality in Washington, DC. Well, she left out a third avenue, going to the Congress to veto the new law. Maggie Gallagher, NOM’s President said that they would defeat it, and here they go again.
NOM is very effective. They were responsible for Proposition 8 qualifying for the California ballot last year which ended same-sex marriage there. They were successful in overturning Maine’s gay marriage law last month, having contributed 64% of all money raised ($1.9 million of the $3 million) in that state. Now they have set their sights on our most recent victory in Washington, DC.
“We have been tracking NOM from day one, and while effective, they do all this secretly and utilizing highly questionable practices,” said Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate. “Maggie and executive director Brian Brown are single handidly fighting same-sex marriage in 11 sates, and now Washington, DC, all by themselves — truly amazing.”
“That is why we have called for investigations in California and Maine into their fund-raising, which is shrouded in mystery. In Maine they refused to disclose the names of thier contributors even after being ordered to do so by Federal Judge D. Brock Hornby and Maine attorney General Janet T. Mills.
Both California and Maine are investigating NOM right now, and the California investigation has included the Mormon Church. It has been ongoing for the past 13 months (FPPC Case # 08/735).”
“Now we need a Congressional investigation of the National Organization for Marriage as they come charging into out nation’s capitol to attempt to undo marriage equality there. They must no longer go unchecked,” demanded Karger.
Read the story about Rep. Chaffetz from the Mormon Church owned Salt Lake City Deseret News:
Chaffetz, family differ on gay marriage
By Lee Davidson
Published: Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 11:32 p.m. MST
SALT LAKE CITY — Gay rights groups are flabbergasted that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leading a charge to block gay marriage in the District of Columbia, since his family has some interesting gay and liberal ties.
After all, his father, John Chaffetz, wrote a complimentary book about a gay couple that competed in the “Amazing Race” reality TV show. And liberal, former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis (whose wife, Kitty, was once married to Chaffetz’s father) has been helping the young Chaffetz to pass legislation.
So gay groups are questioning in widespread Internet posts why Chaffetz, with such ties, could do such a thing. They wish aloud that he would listen to his more liberal relations, and stop his pledges to try to overturn a D.C. ordinance signed by its mayor last week to allow gay marriage.
Chaffetz told the Deseret News on Monday that such groups should not hold their breath for that.
“I see my position more as a support of traditional marriage than it is an attack on gay marriage. I think I have a core moral belief in traditional marriage, and I’m willing to stand up and stand tall for traditional marriage,” he said.
Although Chaffetz is a freshman, he is the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees District of Columbia operations. So he said it is part of that job to announce GOP opposition to the new ordinance, and vow to fight it since federal law gives Congress 30 days to overturn any ordinance passed by the D.C. Council.
“It has led to a whole series of very aggressive personal attacks, but go ahead, I don’t care. It doesn’t phase me much,” Chaffetz said. Many of the attacks draw attention to how his father wrote the book “Gay Reality” about the gay couple of Bill Bartek and Joe Baldassare who gained attention as reality show contestants. And attacks point out Chaffetz’s ties to Dukakis.
But Chaffetz explains, “I am the only member of my family who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a convert.” He joined the church two months after he graduated from Brigham Young University, where he had been recruited as a football placekicker.
Because of that church background, Chaffetz said he is more conservative than many in his extended family, although he said it does include both Republicans and Democrats.
“My younger brother Alex is about as conservative as it gets, other than maybe Attila the Hun,” he joked. “My older half-brother (John Dukakis — who changed his last name from Chaffetz to match that of his famous stepfather, Michael Dukakis) is about as liberal as it gets.”
That doesn’t mean that Chaffetz hasn’t sought out the opinion of his half-brother, a former actor who had roles in such films as “Jaws 2” and in such TV series as “Family Ties” and “Taxi.”
“I showed my brother John a draft of a campaign piece we prepared. And he said, ‘I disagree with everything you say here.’ And I thought, ‘We have success. We must be on to something,'” Chaffetz said.
In contrast, Chaffetz said his father is a “very conservative person,” his book about the gay couple notwithstanding. “I’ve talked to him about some things, but not about this (gay marriage).”
While Chaffetz is not biologically related to Michael Dukakis, Chaffetz said they became well acquainted and spent time together because John Dukakis would spend the school year with Dukakis and John’s mother, Kitty, and the summers with his father and his half-brothers, Jason and Alex, and their mother.
Rep. Chaffetz even headed the Dukakis campaign at BYU in 1988, before his conversions to be a Republican and a Mormon. He said he and Dukakis still keep in close contact, and the former Massachusetts governor has helped him make some Democratic contacts needed to do such things as pass House legislation to ban use of “whole-body imaging” machines at airports.
“One of the interesting phenomena is that Michael Dukakis has been very helpful in opening a lot of doors that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise. Some very liberal Democrats have given me the time of day that wouldn’t normally have done so, particularly some of the people from Massachusetts,” Chaffetz said.
“He (Dukakis) is a passionate believer in good public service, and considers party secondary. He wants to do some things that I could never support, but I respect him,” Chaffetz said. “I talked to him the day before yesterday. We keep in contact.”
But, again, Chaffetz said he believes strongly in defending traditional marriage, and no one should expect differently even if he has some liberal friends and family. “I’m my own guy on this one,” he said.
Still, the Utah Log Cabin Republicans on Monday called for him to change, issuing a statement that it wants him to “get back to tending the issues we sent him to Washington to represent, and stop trying to force others to adhere to his misguided interpretation of what makes a real marriage.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Fred Karger
December 22, 2009
State Bar Moves Its 2011 Annual Meeting to Long Beach
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
The State Bar of California has reported that it is moving its 2011 Annual Meeting from San Diego to a location in Long Beach.
“This action is being taken on the basis of the bar’s business and convention needs and to make the convention as successful as possible,” a spokesperson for the State Bar said Thursday.
The State Bar was originally scheduled to return to the 1,625-room waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego where the convention was held this year, but the spokesperson said “there was no availability at facilities throughout the state for a September or October date, which are the preferred months for our meeting because more people are able to come after summer vacations.”
Several individual attorneys and legal organizations had objected to the 2009 venue, which was the target of a boycott organized by Californians Against Hate, a non-profit organization devoted to drawing attention to the major donors to the Yes on 8 campaign, and UNITE HERE, the hotel workers’ union.
The hotel is owned by the Manchester Financial Group LLC, whose chairman contributed $125,000 towards overturning the rights of same-sex couples to marry, and is operated under lease by the Global Hyatt Corporation.
About 30 protesters with signs chanted slogans and circled the drive of the hotel as the 82nd annual State Bar conference kicked off this past September, followed by a larger protest involving the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers of Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, Barristers Club, California Employment Lawyers Association, National Lawyer’s Guild and Santa Clara County Bar Association.
The Los Angeles County Bar Association also declined to host an exhibit at the hotel or participate in any activity at the Hyatt, instead setting up a booth at the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront where the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations convened.
Various organizations, including the American Association of Law Schools and the American Association for Justice—formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America—also relocated events that had been scheduled to be held at the Hyatt over the past year.
The State Bar, which had contracted with the hotel to host its 2009 and 2011 annual meetings before the divisive Proposition 8 campaign began, acknowledged strong opposition to the venue from members of the legal community but took the position that it could not breach its contractual commitments because the cost of doing so, if borne by the members, could violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits public entities from using mandatory dues money for political actions.
A spokesperson from the State Bar said that the organization is renegotiating its contract with the Hyatt to return to the hotel in 2014 and insisted that the 2011 move had nothing to do with the controversy.
“It was all about what’s best for the convention,” which was obtaining a date in September for the event, she explained.
“As a result of the current economy and the bottoming out of the convention market, we were able to obtain September dates in Long Beach,” the spokesperson said, adding that the exact date and location have not yet been determined since the State Bar is in negotiations with multiple facilities.
The 2010 conference is scheduled to take place Sept. 23-26 in Monterey.
A controversial new documentary, that targets the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will be a featured film during the Sundance Film Festival.
8: The Mormon Proposition features Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger, Reed Cowan, Bruce Bastian and Chris Buttars.
Californians Against Hate Opens
San Diego Office
SAN DIEGO, CA – Fred Karger cut the ribbon earlier this week, or rather the caution tape, to officially open their first real office in the 301 University Building. The 301 Building is very unique. It houses a dozen different LGBTQ organizations in San Diego for very low cost in the old No on Prop 8 headquarters.
“We are excited to have an official office, and we’re thrilled to be in the 301 Building” stated Californians Against Hate founder, Fred Karger. “There are lots of new young activists working out of here, and it’s a wonderful place to be. Lots of future leaders all under one roof. It’s very encouraging to see, and we’re glad to be a part of.”
“Having an office in San Diego will enable us do more on our two remaining boycotts, Doug Manchester’s Hotels and Terry Caster’s A-1 Self Storage Company. Manchester gave $125,000 of very early money to qualify and pass Proposition 8, and Caster gave a whopping $693,000. We have led successful boycotts of both companies for over a year. Now we can ramp them up and utilize more volunteers in San Diego,” concluded Karger.
If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. If you would like to volunteer, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Hotels Bleeding $1 Million
per Month = $16 Million
Recent estimates have determined that Manchester’s two remaining hotels are losing a combined total of well over $1 million per month. This loss is a direct result of the 16 month old boycott started by Californians Against Hate and Unite Here, Local 30. The downtown Manchester Grand Hyatt and the new resort property, the Grand del Mar are “bleeding money in canceled and lost bookings.” Sales at the properties are reportedly way down.
Last April, hotel officials admitted to having lost $7 million in the first 9 months of the boycott, and the longer it goes on the worse it gets.
Five for Fred Gets off to Great Start
A BIG thank you goes out to so many people who pulled out their MasterCards, Visas and American Express cards and donated to Fred’s Legal Defense Fund, Five for Fred
It’s actually very easy to help Fred. You just need to go to the www.fiveforfred.com web site and click on the bright red DONATE button in the upper right part of your screen. It directs you to the ever so easy to fill out donation sheet. It only takes 42 seconds to make a difference. If you haven’t donated to help defray Fred’s mounting legal bills, please do it right now: Five for Fred
Contributions of $5.00 (the price of a latte + tip) and up have come in from generous donors in 25 states – from Arizona to Wyoming. It has been incredible, and is really helping to make a dent in the bills. Please help if you can.
Thank you one and all!!!!
December 2, 2009
Contact: Fred Karger
I am starting a legal defense fund
Please Get out Your MasterCard – I Need Your Help!
It’s been three months since I was subpoenaed by the National Organization for Marriage and Protect Marriage, the official Yes on 8 campaign committee that raised $40 million last year. They served me with a subpoena on Labor Day weekend as part of their federal law suit to end disclosure of all campaign contributions in California.
In one fell swoop, these rabid opponents of LGBT civil rights want to forever hide the identity of all their donors, and stop me from my pursuit of truth and transparency. They want to continue to raise millions and millions of dollars to ban same-sex marriage while keeping their donors’ names secret.
They want to silence me by dragging me through our costly legal system. They are clearly doing this to harass me and hurt me. They don’t like the fact that two states, California and Maine, are investigating the National Organization for Marriage due to the complaints that I filed.
I have retained a highly regarded California law firm, Stevens, O’Connell and Jacobs to represent me. I am very fortunate to get such excellent attorneys to go up against the well funded and powerful lawyers on the other side, James Bopp and the Alliance Defense Fund.
I will not be intimidated, but I cannot fight these huge national organizations and their lawyers myself. I need your help.
I am truly a citizen activist. It is just my laptop and me. I am more committed than ever to gathering and publishing information that is essential to a full and fair debate over Proposition 8 and the forces behind it. But those forces are trying to silence me by making my First Amendment rights too costly to exercise I cannot cover all of the legal bills that will be necessary to fight these mega organizations with unlimited resources.
Some friends and I have set up Five for Fred to help cover my legal expenses in dealing with the subpoena and matters related to it.
I have received a huge outpouring of support these past two months. Many of you have asked what you could do to help me.
So I am asking you to contribute a minimum of $5.00. If enough people donate the price of a latte (with tip), it will be a HUGE help.
Please ask your friends and family members to support Five for Fred, too. Post a link on your Facebook page, tweet, forward to your friends and please send whatever you can to help right now.
My hometown City Council of Laguna Beach recently presented me with a Proclamation from the city supporting me, a copy of which is below. And Cindy Frazier, the editor of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot wrote a beautiful and moving front page column detailing my plight, From Canyon to Cove: NOM Calls out Karger.
I am incredibly appreciative of the support I have received, and truly, it has helped me get through this tough time.
Please take a moment to donate to Five for Fred, and remember to forward this request to your friends, family and co-workers.
I am more motivated than ever before. I will continue to fight for our rights, and to draw attention to those organizations, religions, corporations and individuals whose goal is to stop us from attaining full civil rights.
Thank you very much for your help!
Best personal regards,
City of Laguna Beach Proclamation Recognizing Fred Karger