Maine Ethics Commission recommends that anti-marriage group NOM be fined

This week, ethics investigators in Maine are recommending that the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that works against the freedom to marry, be fined more than $50,000 for failing to register and disclose its activities in the 2009 ballot campaign to protect marriage in Maine. In that campaign, a marriage bill approved by the state legislature was overturned (although just three years later, in November 2012, marriage supporters went back to the ballot to pass the world's first-ever proactive ballot initiative in favor of marriage for all couples).

The Bangor Daily News reports, "The Maine Ethics Commission launched an investigation into NOM, alleging the group had violated Maine law by not registering as a ballot question committee and providing detailed reports about its fundraising and spending. .... The Ethics Commission staff’s recommendation that NOM be fined means state investigators feel there is sufficient evidence to prove the organization sought contributions with the explicit purpose of spending the cash in Maine. They cite fundraising emails sent my NOM that detailed to large donors their strategy for overturning marriage equality in Maine."

The report reads: 

After consideration of this evidence, there appears to be little doubt that NOM received far more than $5,000 for the purpose of promoting the Maine referendum, which is the legal trigger to require registration and financial reporting as a ballot question committee.

The staff views NOM’s failure to register and file financial reports as a significant violation of law. Maine people deserve to know who is funding political campaigns to influence their vote. After setting forth our analysis of the facts, we recommend specific findings of violation and civil penalties against NOM totaling $50,250.

Read the full report here.