March 30, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
In 2008, Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage to fund their attempts to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying each other in California. As the article points out, this news in itself isn’t new; the donation was reported on at the time and his spokesman at the time Eric Ferhnstrom commented that, “The governor feels strongly that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, and one of the most high-profile fights on this subject is happening in California[.]”
The Human Rights Campaign obtained the filing from a whistleblower and it shows that Romney made the donation through curious channels:
In fact, record of the payment was only uncovered Friday when the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign was sent a private IRS filing from NOM via a whistleblower. The Human Rights Campaign shared the filing with The Huffington Post.
Asked for comment, an aide to Romney said that the donation was made through the Alabama chapter of the Free and Strong America PAC. State records confirm this. However, the 990 NOM filed lists the donation as having come from PO Box 79226 in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Alabama is known for having lax disclosure laws on campaign finance regulations. And the Human Rights Campaign notes that Romney’s financial contributions to NOM were important to the effort to pass Proposition 8:
“It’s clear now that Romney was a major financial donor to Prop. 8,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president for communications. “But it’s also clear that his campaign very cleverly hid this contribution in an obscure Alabama PAC.”
“His spokesperson said that Romney had financially supported Prop 8 but there’s no disclosure of a contribution to any Prop. 8 effort, personal or through the national or Alabama PAC,” Sainz added. “He instead chose to give to NOM, an organization that has a history of shielding its donors. For what other purpose would you contribute $10,000 to NOM three weeks before the election other than Prop 8?”
In any case, given the recent revelations coming from unsealed court documents showing that NOM engaged in a willful attempt to provoke hostility between minority groups, important questions need to be asked and answered by likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign:
Was Mitt Romney among the privileged few high-dollar donors who got an “eyes-only” glimpse at NOM’s confidential strategy memos?
In other words, it’s worth asking: what did Mitt Romney know, and when did he know it? To be fair, Romney’s 2008 donation predates the materials that have been made public. But his relationship, and that of his Church — a major donor to NOM — continues. And it stands to reason that there were 2008 versions of this strategy memo, as well as 2010, 2011, and 2012 versions. The mind shudders to imagine what is in the ones we haven’t seen.
When Mitt Romney cut his $10,000 check for Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown’s National Organization for Marriage, did he know that his money would be used to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies”? Did he know it would be going toward fanning hostility between his fellow Americans?
Since, as Wooledge points out in his piece, these documents were specifically designed for donors, has Romney gotten to see any of these documents, or has he been told of their plans? And will he distance himself from NOM’s racist tactics? There is a petition asking him to do that here.