Karen Ocamb

HRC: Romney Contributed $10,000 to NOM for Prop 8 Fight

Filed By Karen Ocamb | March 31, 2012 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Mitt Romney, National Organization for Marriage, NOM

A number of politicos jumped on GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney for the casual way he offered to make a $10,000 bet with rival Rick Perry during a debate, saying it clearly illustrated out "out of touch" Romney was with regular folks for whom DeseretNews10.28.jpg$10,000 is a lot of money. And certainly, $10,000 was a lot of money during the Prop 8 fight in California - which the Human Rights Campaign and its project NOM Exposed revealed was the amount Romney gave to the National Organization for Marriage when the antigay group emerged as a leading proponent for the Prop 8 ballot initiative that successfully stripped marriage rights from same sex couples in California. NOM has been working hard to keep the names of its donors private.

Graphic via Scoot Wooledge at the Huffington Post

Scott Wooledge at the Huffington Post has more, finding the contribution cited "in the Oct. 28, 2008 edition of Deseret News reporting on Mitt Romney's $10,000 donation to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). We since have come to learn that NOM circulated some nefarious memos to convince donors that their cause was strategically planned."

HRC's Fred Sainz says:

The aide quoted in The Deseret News that gets Romney into campaign disclosure problems is none other than Eric Fehrnstrom, the same trusted aide who infamously compared the general election to an "Etch A Sketch." The NYT has a great profile of Fehrnstrom here.

It also bears mentioning, that Robert George, the chairman emeritus of NOM and the author of two federal marriage amendments, sits on the editorial board of the Deseret News. You will remember that Mr. George was appointed this week by Speaker Boehner to the U.S. Commission for International Freedom.

Here's HRC's press release:

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released never-before-seen financial documents from the National Organization for Marriage showing a $10,000 donation from Mitt Romney's PAC in 2008. HRC called on Mitt Romney to disavow the racially divisive tactics of the National Organization for Marriage, which HRC this week revealed to be engaging in a plan to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" and manipulate the Latino community.

"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 at: http://www.scribd.com/nomexposed/d/87361789-NOMSched2008PDF.

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: http://arc-sos.state.al.us/PEL/SOSELPDF.001/E0090860.PDF.

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. The action is at: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1401.


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