Confidential tax documents of pro-marriage group released: NOM points finger at Obama admin.
WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is calling for an investigation of the Obama Administration, a liberal news outlet, and a gay rights group, all of whom NOM says may have violated federal law through their involvement in releasing the organization’s confidential tax information to the public.
NOM’s 2008 1099 tax form, which contains the names and addresses of NOM donors, was published late last month in a Huffington Post article that accuses presidential candidate Mitt Romney of funding the prominent pro-traditional marriage group “under the radar.” Romney had sent a $10,000 check to the organization during the battle over California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which constitutionally defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman in the state.
The Huffington Post article calls the donation “secretive,” because it was made through a chapter of Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC in Alabama, a state with notoriously lax contribution reporting requirements.
Information about the source of the donation, however, has been publicly available through state records and was confirmed by a Romney aide, the article acknowledges.
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Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, also publicly announced the donation in 2008, telling the Deseret News that the governor “feels strongly that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.”
The article identifies The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as the source of the NOM tax filing, claiming that the HRC obtained it from a “whistleblower.”
NOM President Brian Brown is crying foul, though, and says he has evidence that the document came straight from the IRS.
In a recent statement, the organization said that it had used a software tool to determine the content of information that had been removed from the form linked on the Huffington Post website, and found that the document originally had a label at the top of each page which read: “THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” A document ID was also stamped across the body of the document, obscuring some of the text.
In a letter to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration requesting an investigation, Brown wrote: “The publication of the officially filed Schedule B can only have occurred as the result of a third party’s illegal actions: either one or more IRS employees or an external source who has unlawfully obtained access to confidential IRS computers and confidential taxpayer information. In either case, it is clear that a federal crime has been committed.”
The organization has also pointed out that the President of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, is a national co-chair of Obama’s presidential re-election campaign.
“The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents who also happen to be co-chairing President Obama’s reelection committee,” said Brown.
Brown told Fox News that he was not attempting to “hide” information about Romney’s donation, but is concerned with protecting the private information of his organization’s donors. The document contains dozens of names and addresses of NOM donors from across the country.
He also disclosed that the IRS has responded to the group’s letter and is “taking this seriously.”
NOM has also sent letters to the Huffington Post and the Human Rights Campaign, demanding the removal of the documents from both organizations’ websites.
In a statement emailed to the Weekly Standard, HRC Spokesman Fred Sainz called NOM’s charges “absolutely false,” and claimed that the HRC had obtained and disseminated the information “lawfully.”
“HRC has no intention of helping NOM to suppress the truth,” said Sainz.
According to a statement from NOM, the post on the HRC website originally linked to the IRS filing but has been altered since NOM’s letter to the organization threatening legal action. The current post alludes to “never-before-seen financial documents” but does not link to or specifically reference NOM’s 2008 1099 form.
Brown’s letter to Solmonese includes a screen shot of the form as it was originally posted on the HRC website.
“They now realize that they have done something tremendously wrong here or they would not have removed the references,” Brown said. “This is not a routine leak of some obscure document. We’re talking about someone in the Obama Administration’s IRS releasing to a group headed by President Obama’s national co-chair the private tax return containing confidential donor information of their main opponent. This is reminiscent of Watergate.”