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Iowa groups file formal complaint against National Organization for Marriage
The state’s largest gay rights organization and a progressive religious group have filed a formal complaint against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.
One Iowa and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa filed the complaint Monday alleging that NOM, a New Jersey-based group that opposes same-sex marriage, violated Iowa campaign finance law in their Iowa House District 90 campaign.
“NOM has complete disregard of Iowa law as they engage in express advocacy in our state, while refusing to release the identity of their donors, as is legally required in Iowa law,” the complaint said. “NOM has a history of funneling secret money throughout the country to engage in similar activity.”
On Aug. 20, NOM reported making an independent expenditure of $86,060 to benefit Stephen Burgmeier, a candidate in Tuesday’s Iowa House District 90 special election. The complaint alleges the expenditure violates Iowa election laws requiring disclosure of political contributors. Similar complaints have been filed against NOM in California and Maine.
The Iowa complaint comes less than a week after Charlie Smithson, executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, wrote a letter to NOM Executive Director Brian Brown saying that if his organization continues to engage in express advocacy in Iowa, the group would have to form a PAC and disclose its donors.
“We request a thorough investigation into their activities, including detailed accounting of any and all contributions and their sources, as Iowans clearly deserve to know who is funding last minute advertising to try and influence tomorrow’s election,” the complaint said.
NOM has said it will target target Iowa in the hopes of passing a state constitutional amendment reversing the unanimous ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court in April that the state’s Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The effort, called “The Reclaim Iowa Project,” leads many to believe the $90,000 spent on HD90 represents just a preview of the group’s future investment in Iowa politics.
In Maine, the state’s Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices said in a letter to NOM that it will investigating their campaign practices at its Oct. 1 meeting. The group is trying to build support for a referendum to overturn a recently passed law legalizing same-sex marriage.