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National Organization for Marriage funding comes from few sources
Three-quarters of the funding for the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit dedicated to opposing same-sex marriage, comes from just five sources, according to its most recent 2009 990 form filed with the Internal Revenue Services.
NOM spent $635,627 in Iowa in 2010 to help bankroll the successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices over a ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. In 2009, the organization spent nearly $100,000 supporting a Republican House candidate in a special legislative election. NOM has also done a series of robocalls concerning same-sex marriage and held a pair of rallies in Iowa in early August to promote their point of view.
“The National Organization for Marriage has emerged as the nation’s only major national grassroots organization dedicated to protecting marriage,” said NOM’s president and founder, Maggie Gallagher, in July 2009. NOM describes itself as “the nation’s only grassroots organization focused on the threat to marriage at state and local levels.” NOM Executive Director Brian Brown said in a January 2010 press release, “NOM’s goal is a national grassroots organization that can make a difference in all 50 states, as needed.”
However, at least in terms of funding, its donations are quite concentrated. According to its 2009 990 form (PDF) obtained by the Human Rights Campaign, NOM received $7,106,388 in donations in 2009. Three donations of $2.4 million, $1.2 million, and $1.1 million constituted 68 percent of its total donations. Two additional donations of $400,000 and $150,000 mean that three-quarters of its funding came from just five sources.
Donations to 501(c)(4) organizations are not tax-deductible and organizations do not have to disclose their donors.
In September, reporter Jesse Zwick uncovered a $1.4 million donation from the Knights of Columbus to NOM in 2009, which does not seem to appear on the organization’s 990. NOM has a pattern of pushing the boundaries of disclosure laws: The organization sued the Rhode Island Board of Elections over the funding of ads, has been the subject of campaign finance complaints in Maine and Iowa and used a loophole in Minnesota campaign finance law all to avoid disclosure.
A request for comment to the National Organization For Marriage was not immediately returned.
Luke Johnson writes for The American Independent.