Thursday, October 1, 2009

BREAKING: Maine Ethics Commission to Investigate Anti-LGBT Yes on 1 Campaign and National Organization for Marriage

UPDATE 4 6:40pm PST: Hear the audio recording of the hearing at Good As You.

UPDATE 3 3:27pm PST: Karen Ocamb's one-on-one interview with Fred Karger gets an inside look at what happened during the Commission's hearing.

An excerpt:
“I submitted 79 emails – and all I have is what’s in the public view to go by – I can’t talk to their donors – so I took the 79 emails I was able to collect – they sent them out from post-Prop 8 until I filed my complaint in August. I took out all the ones that had anything to do with Maine and all of these fundraising emails ask for money. 16 of the 79 were Maine-specific. Some mentioned other states but they all asked for money. Two were only about Maine and they claimed that of these two emails, they only raised combined $295 from these two emails. Because if they hit $5,000 that they raised, then they’d have to file as a PAC [political action committee] – which they hadn’t done so they would have been in violation of the law. So they kind of did it backwards saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t come close to $5,000. We only raised $295.’

In August, Brain Brown took credit – I read that quote [in his testimony]: ‘We have 500,000 supporters in our march’ – whatever. So I said, ‘OK, you have 500,000 people on your list and you only raised $295 from two emails? I mean who in his right mind would believe that? They only raised $147.50 per email from over 500,000 of their supporters.

UPDATE 2 12:08pm PST: Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, who levied the complaint against NOM and the Yes on 1 campaign, has issued an official statement on the ruling, saying "I’m extremely grateful for the courageous stand the commission took today."

UPDATE 10:40am PST: Read Yes on 1's official reaction to the ruling.

Despite a staff recommendation to the contrary, Maine's Ethics Commission voted 3-2 today to order an investigation of the fund-raising efforts of the anti-marriage equality Yes on 1 campaign and the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) which has given money to Yes on 1.

Thanks to the diligence and official complaint filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, who has similarly gone after the LDS church's involvement in Proposition 8, an investigation into NOM's fund-raising techniques and the identities of its donors will be launched.

Unfortunately, the investigation will take several weeks and more likely be completed after the November 3 elections which will determine whether or not the state will keep its new marriage equality law.

The Commission concluded that since the investigation will not be completed in time, it is better to be thorough than hasty. A staff proposal on how to proceed will be given to the Commission for review and approval.

The Portland Press Herald reports, "In response, Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, said they have not raised money specifically for Maine and therefore are not required to report individual donors."

I guess that remains to be seen.

TO BE POSTED SOON: Audio of the hearing.

1 comment:

  1. Great coverage of this! When do you expect to have the audio? I would love to hear it.