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BUSTED: HRC/Courage Campaign call on IRS to investigate NOM’s sister organization

NOM Exposed NOM Tour Tracker-California Right-wing

The Washington Post broke the story earlier tonight. Here are the key grafs:

The 2010 midterm elections are likely to set records for spending by outside interest groups – and are already setting a healthy pace for complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.

Another example is likely to come Thursday, with two gay rights organizations, the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign, planning to file an IRS complaint over the tax status of one of their most vocal opponents.

The groups allege that the Ruth Institute, an arm of the National Organization for Marriage, has violated rules forbidding charities to get involved in political races. NOM, which opposes legalizing same-sex marriage, denies the allegation.

The complaint, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Post, points to evidence that the president of the Ruth Institute, Jennifer Roback Morse, has actively participated in events in favor of Carly Fiorina, the Republican candidate for Senate in California.

More from HRC below, on our NOM Exposed web site — Eden


We all know by now the National Organization for Marriage “Education Fund” and its affiliated Ruth Institute are ruthless in selling their anti-gay rage. But they got reckless.

Tomorrow the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign will formally request that the Internal Revenue Service immediately investigate the Ruth Institute’s illegal political campaign activities. We will be asking the IRS to revoke the Ruth Institute’s tax-exempt status and seek an injunction to prevent future violations by either the Ruth Institute or the NOM Education Fund. Complaint is here.

The evidence—video, public statements, and campaign appearances by NOM or its Institute—speaks for itself. And we must have struck a chord. NOM and its associates have been busy scrubbing their web sites in recent days. Oh, so coy.

But not coy enough. Once on the internet always on the internet.

Charitable organizations like the Ruth Institute are supposed to be—in the eyes of the law—in the business of charity–not out there on the stump supporting political candidates. Even fringe, rabidly anti-gay groups must obey the law. They have every right to promote their views against marriage equality. But they have to do it within the confines of the law.

Stay tuned.


  • 1. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Nail them down good and tight. Don't give these momsers any wiggle room at all! They need to really be taught a lesson about pushing for state-sanctioned bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and lying. I just wish there were some way to sit them down and make them watch the end result of their actions, especially when their actions lead to someone's death.

  • 2. AndrewPDX  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    yeah… if only we could have a Dickensesque Christmas Carol for Brian and Maggie. But somehow I doubt they would care about Tiny Tim.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 3. Jonathan H  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Only if Tim's parents were a married straight couple. Oh, and maybe if Tim hadn't been born yet.

    Some awful little part of my mind is trying to outline a NOM Christmas Carol. I think a Broadway-style musical is really the only way to go with it.

  • 4. Rhie  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Oh good grief. I have that same horrible corner in my mind and it is trying to do the same thing. Thank you, for that.

  • 5. Vaati  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    If Tiny Tim was a small effeminate, sensitive boy they wouldn't…. wait.

    It might sting a little when during the preview of Christmas to come the Latino maids they try to pander to about values are the ones selling their Egyptian cotton sheets on Ebay.

    Also, Maggie should be the partner who warns Brian of the impending ghosts. 😛 The long rattling chains could represent all the gay couples that haven't been able to wed since Prop 8's enactment.

  • 6. Zachary  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Awesome! I was wondering when this was gonna happen.

  • 7. Jonathan H  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Oh come now, can't you see that expecting them to obey the same laws as everyone else is showing religious intolerance and restricting their first amendment rights?

  • 8. alaneckert  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I sent in a request, too, and directed them to all of the links provided.

  • 9. Kathleen  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    So glad to hear you're doing this.

  • 10. Ann S.  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Me, too. Go, Courage Campaign and HRC!

  • 11. Rhie  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Me three. And I am absolutely shocked that WaPo has picked it up. AND has gotten all the facts right, AND hasn't turned it into an evil-liberals-attack-Christians article.

  • 12. Gregory in SLC  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    subscribing. Favorite from the Washington post article:

    " 'NOM President Brian Brown called the allegations 'laughable' and denied most of the examples cited in the complaint……..'We know the law, and we follow the law,' Brown said. 'They're trying to silence us and make it hard for us to operate.' "

    No. The failed bus tours, music faux pas, Alfonso's bedside manners, Brian lying in the above quote and your IGNORANCE of the law is laughable.

  • 13. Anonygrl  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

    (My response on WaPo…)

    Brown said. "They're trying to silence us and make it hard for us to operate."

    Gee, that doesn't seem fair. All YOU are trying to do, Brian Brown, is silence US and make it impossible for us to enjoy equal rights. Why on earth would anyone want to make it hard for you to do that? Especially, why would anyone want to make it impossible for you to be allowed to break the law while doing it.

    You claim in one breath to know the law and follow it, then in the next that when you break it, it is a "simple mistake." Simple mistakes are forgetting to put a comma in a sentence. Simple mistakes involve dropping a letter in the mailbox without a stamp. Rounding up a person who is the head of an organization by law prohibited from campaigning, writing up a press release explaining that she as head of that organization will be campaigning, sending her off to campaign, having her push both the candidate and her own 501(c)3 which is not allowed to campaign, then trying to cover it up by deleting any references you can find (shades of Ollie North and the paper shredder, anyone?) is not a "simple mistake". It is a clear violation of the law.

  • 14. elliom  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:03 am

    It's not a shredder…it's a Memory Hole.

  • 15. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Bwaaaa….If you don't want to get caught its better to not do it at all…

    "Charitable organizations like the Ruth Institute are supposed to be—in the eyes of the law—in the business of charity"

    Charity indeed…..what orphans have they helped?….What Homeless have they fed, clothed, sheltered?…..What cure for a disease research have the funded… (you know other then the discredited & totally debunked NARTH)?……What natural disaster relief have they raised money for?…….What elderly home have they donated too so that our innocent elders are not treated as if they don't matter? …What hospital have they donated too regardless of whether that money goes to save the life of someone who is Gay, Straight, Christian, Muslim, etc etc etc…..

    Oh wait those are actual charitable & decent things for human beings to do rather then wasting money to control people's personal lives according to some Homophobic Fascists autocratic & theocratic bullshite definitions & beliefs….my bad…

    continue breaking Federal law…NOM…it assures that in the next life you will come back as the receiving ant underneath the sole of my foot….You are not above the law…& I hope the law sends you up the river Denial…you know the one in Egypt…in which you've been going down in the wrong direction…let me educated flows South to North….not selfish to mine…got it?…..good…NOW GROW UP!!!!….. ; )


  • 16. JonT  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Oh yes! Nice work 🙂

    (and of course subscribing, my email inbox just cannot live without it's daily injections of p8tt.)

  • 17. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Show them how it's done. By the book, with evidence. That's soooo cheating :).

  • 18. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Just read the complaint. All backed up with documented evidence. Having the Washington Post break the story as part of its series on super-PACs can't hurt :).

  • 19. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Insightful discussion of why the DOJ is appealing DOMA and DADT. Adds to the conversation we've been having here.

    Why Obama is Challenging the Courts' Pro-Gay Rulings,8599,20

  • 20. Carpool Cookie  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:39 am

    From TIME article: "the White House nearly always defends statutes in court, whether the President agrees with them or not. There are exceptions, he said, but they typically involve laws that the President believes are clearly unconstitutional…"

    And……this wouldn't be such an instance BECAUSE….?

  • 21. Sagesse  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Actually, it is. We all 'know' they're unconstitutional, and there is consistent support from recent lower court decisions, but no one is really sure that the Roberts Court, as currently constituted, would rule that way. What Obama and his administration are doing, as I read it, is not substituting their judgment for that of the court on something that is still contentious. Part of the separation of powers is not presuming what the Supreme Court should rule before they do it.

  • 22. Kathleen  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Obama's stated position on DADT is that he thinks it's bad policy and should be repealed, but doesn't believe it's unconstitutional. I'm hoping that the Court's ruling will push Congress to act.

    Btw, does anyone know if this is a case from which Kagan will recuse herself?

  • 23. Sagesse  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:55 am


    Is that the same as the Obama administration saying, so far as the government is concerned, it's not unconstitutional until the Supreme Court says it's unconstitutional? Regardless of what he and the SG, as head of the DOJ personally believe.

  • 24. Kathleen  |  October 14, 2010 at 4:03 am

    I don't know about the nuances. I doubt it's the case that the President doesn't believe any law is unconstitutional until the Supreme Court says otherwise.

    My comment was responding to C-Cookie asking how this law didn't fall into the category of a law that the President believes is clearly unconstitutional. I'm just saying that the President's public position on this law is that he doesn't believe it's "clearly unconstitutional."

  • 25. Sagesse  |  October 14, 2010 at 5:05 am


    I think we're saying the same thing.

  • 26. Linda  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Oh, this is good news. Thank you!

  • 27. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    THOUGHT SO. Glad HRC filed, was hoping they would. Didn't want to have to open my own can of whoopass on NOM's 501c(3), or (4), or whatever lie they've been living.

  • 28. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Oh, and I'm actually going to subscribe for once. Just try and stop me.

  • 29. alaneckert  |  October 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Oh NOM, nobody forced Catholic Charities to stop doing its work. There are so many other fallacies in this ad, but I need to go to bed.

    [youtube =]

  • 30. Michael  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    As strident anti-gay activist Brown chortles and cackles over the HRC NOM Exposed site which he claims helped NOM take in extra donations, we will see if he's still so tickled pink after getting his hands slapped.

  • 31. TPAKyle  |  October 13, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Looks like NOM will need those extra donations from their "money bomb" campaign for their legal defense fund! IRS investigations can be quite demanding and costly!

  • 32. Felyx  |  October 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    "We all know by now the National Organization for Marriage “Education Fund” and its affiliated Ruth Institute are ruthless in selling their anti-gay rage. "

    Evidently they are not Ruth-less! LOL Sorry, had to.

    Serves them right! Too bad we can't have a class action suit against all the organizations and (pseudo) news stations that put out hate speech! The suicides need to stop!


  • 33. Kate  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:02 am

    How in hell can they DENY this, as they have done??? Even their own bus photos and videos show those logos on the side. To say nothing of the videos of their speakers! Hey, anybody pick up the handouts they were giving??? I can't imagine that we don't also have copies of those….

  • 34. Kate  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Finally I agree with Brian about something — yes, the evidence IS laughable. But WE are the ones who are laughing now!

  • 35. alaneckert  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:17 am

    This is for everyone out there. The video is titled "Bless You = Fuck You." Enough said, bless your heart.

    [youtube =]

  • 36. Bob  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:18 am

    thanks for that video alaneckert, she makes a very good point about athiests being too complacent, what percentage of the population does it make up,

    The freedom of religion, as Obama points out, includes all religions, including for example Muslim, , and also people of no religion, This is a very good entry point for the religious wars, very similar to what's happened throughout history, it's time now for atheists, agnostics, and espcially affirming churches to stand up to have their freedom of choice with respect to religion be honored in America.

  • 37. Judy  |  October 14, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Toffler Associates just put out Future Shock, outlining 40 great movements to come in the next 40 years. One of these is that religions will try to infiltrate governments.

    Stand strong, governments! Keep church out of state!

  • 38. Joe  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Wow, I know what she's talking about. I have seen so many religious people react that way when it comes to atheism or agnosticism. It seems like those words channel people like Bill Maher. I think religious people see an atheist and assume that he or she thinks like he does that religious people are nut jobs, or stupid.

    So they resort to direct evangelism so the atheist will convert. The problem is direct evangelism doesn't work. If anything ever does, it's leading a Christ-like life. When someone mentions they believe differently than I do, whether they're Jewish, Muslim, or atheist, I acknowledge their point of view and generally move on to another topic.

    He only time I go into my personal beliefs is if they ask about them, then I'm all too happy to respectfully discuss them.

  • 39. Kate  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Dear Ruth:

    You sure messed up this time.


  • 40. Anonygrl  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:03 am

    P.S. I want a divorce, and custody of our kids.

  • 41. bb  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:08 am

    LOL. Thanks for the wonderful laugh this morning, Kate. Your comment was just what I needed this morning. 🙂

  • 42. Bennett  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:43 am

    What effect does losing tax exempt status have on such an organization? Does this mean that their donors can no longer deduct contributions from taxable income, or does it mean that the organization would have to pay taxes on the contributions they receive as revenue?

    Either way, I am all for it 🙂

  • 43. Cat  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:36 am

    I hope both…

  • 44. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Bennett, If I understand correctly (IANATA), you cannot use your donation to NOM (as the parent organization) as they are a 501c(4). If you donate to any of their child organizations (Ruth Institute 501c(3)) you can use that as a taxable charity donation.

    The bigger investigation will be where the funds came from within the entire NOM organization to pay for all their lobbying activity.

    And, no matter, the Ruth Institute will likely be fined (and may lose their 501c(3) status) for being involved in the recent NOM tour bus 'vota whatever.'

  • 45. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:46 am

    And forgot to subscribe

  • 46. Kathleen  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:19 am

    My understanding (which could be wrong) is that for 501(c)(4) orgs like NOM, it's only the latter because donations to such orgs are not tax deductible for the donor. But for a 501(c)(3) org like the Ruth Institute, where donation are tax deductible, it's both.

  • 47. Joe  |  October 14, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Another benefit of being tax exempt is that your are exempt from paying certain taxes. For example, churches who have tax exempt status can buy nearly anything they need to operate without paying sales tax.

  • 48. Bob  |  October 14, 2010 at 1:54 am

    off topic, Happy day for Canada, Fox News dropped it's bid to gain forced access to our cable outlets….. Our Prime Minister an the Conservatives were in favour, but we managed enough signatures on a petition to prevent it. We don't want to hear that crap on our local airwaves.. woot woot

  • 49. Kathleen  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Good on Canada for resisting pollution of its airwaves!

  • 50. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

    So can't Ms. Morse simple claim to have been on the bus tour as a private citizen and not as the pres of The Ruth Institute?

  • 51. fiona64  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Yeah, except for the matter of those pesky press releases where she talks about being there in her official capacity and campaigning for Carly Fiorina …


  • 52. Alan E.  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:31 am

    She introduced herself as the President of Ruth, so from that point on, she was a representative of Ruth. Also, NOM announced her arrival and made a (slight) fanfare about it. More evidence that she was there on official business. Also, she was handing out pamphlets and fliers, after announcing herself as the President of Ruth. Any person attending without prior knowledge of the event would easily recognize her in her official capacity than as a private citizen.

  • 53. Alan E.  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:35 am

    The big question is where Ruth is getting money. If the are getting money fed to them by NOM, wouldn't that be against federal tax laws? Also, since NOM was the one who set up the latest "bus tour" (not scare quotes, just not sure how much of a tour it was) and backed the tour financially, setting the stage for Morse to talk, this is a fine line between having an official event and funneling money to Ruth, or vice versa.

  • 54. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 14, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Now that is a very good question Alan.

    I am pretty sure that NOM's recent activity trying to shield all their donors comes into play on this very subject.

  • 55. Kat  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Why just the Ruth Institute? Why not NOM itself? They're a non-profit that flagrantly violates campaign donor disclosure laws in every state they go. How is that not enough to prompt or warrant an IRS investigation?

  • 56. Greybird  |  October 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I briefly knew Jennifer Roback (before she became, yes, Mrs. Morse) thirty years ago. When she was a libertarian, was a non-theist, was tolerant, was a budding academic, and was not consorting with bigots.

    Oh, how they are fallen. Utterly disappointing. None of the above is true now. Even her psychological and historical research (before she took up anti-SSMery and Catholicism) was politicized.

    Her activism has led her to abetting bigots. I'm not prepared to say she is one herself, as I know firsthand that she's too intelligent to fully believe what she spouts now. Duplicitous, perhaps. Clueless about how the world really works, almost certainly.

    You can't count on anyone keeping their virtues {sigh}

    Incidentally, I don't endorse siccing the IRS on anyone, and that function of the law has been too easily abused against those not favoring the party in power, by both major parties. That, though, doesn't mean the Ruth Institute's and NOM's standards aren't reprehensible.

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