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NOM busted, continued: More on HRC and Courage’s complaint filed to the IRS

NOM Exposed NOM Tour Tracker-California Right-wing


HRC and the Courage Campaign today announced they are filing a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service asking it to immediately investigate the Ruth Institute, part of the NOM’s Education Fund. The complaint, found here, requests the IRS 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.

The complaint makes clear the Ruth Institute “has repeatedly and flagrantly violated the political campaign activity prohibition of section 501(c) (3) by intervening and participating in multiple candidate campaigns. In the past year Ruth Institute resources have illegally been used to advocate for a U.S. Senate candidate as well as local and statewide judicial candidates.” HRC and the Courage Campaign cite the repeated involvement of the Ruth Institute in Carly Fiorina’s Senate race and in judicial elections in California and Iowa as clear violations of federal law.

“The evidence that the Ruth Institute and the NOM Education Fund repeatedly stepped over the line into illegal activity is indisputable,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Even fringe groups like NOM, its associates, and its affiliate groups must abide by federal law. Is the Ruth Institute nothing more than a front and funnel for NOM’s political activities? We trust the IRS can unveil the truth.”

“Time and again, NOM has shown itself as a radical extremist group bent on attacking families and undermining election laws,” said Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs. “By openly flouting IRS regulations governing charities, NOM is effectively forcing taxpayers to subsidize its political activities. This is not just the height of arrogance, it’s against the law.”

Pursuant to the federal tax code, as a charitable organization, the Ruth Institute may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. Violation of this prohibition can result in stiff penalties against the organization and its officials as well as potential revocation of its tax exempt status by IRS.

The Ruth Institute and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, in her capacity as president of The Ruth Institute, have participated in activities advocating the election of Carly Fiorina to the United States Senate in coordination with NOM, which has already spent close to $200,000 on the race through multiple independent expenditures. Evidence of the Ruth’s Institute’s participation in these activities includes:

  • A NOM-issued press release titled “National Organization for Marriage and Ruth Institute Join Bus Tour Supporting Carly Fiorina in California.” The September 28th release stated that “Brian Brown, president of NOM, and Jennifer Roback Morse, president of The Ruth Institute, a project of NOM’s Marriage Education Fund, will both be supporting the “Vota Tus Valores” bus tour as it makes its way around California” and that Morse would appear at a San Diego campaign event on October 4. (NOM has since removed their press release from its web site. It can be found here.)
  • Videotape of the October 4th appearance by Morse at the campaign event for Fiorina. Speaking in front of a bus emblazoned with “Vota Fiorina,” Morse said, “We’re the Ruth Institute … if you go and look at, you’ll find out all about us… We’re here, and we’re here to serve, we’re here to serve the whole body of Christ… That’s what we’re here for, and we’re very proud to be part of this electoral effort (4:50 into the videotape).”
  • A Ruth Institute podcast containing Morse’s speech on behalf of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Values, described on the Ruth Institute website as “an independent expenditure group supporting Carly Fiorina’s bid for California Senator.” (This, too, has been scrubbed. It can be found here.)
  • Ruth Institute website content promoting Fiorina’s candidacy and Morse’s involvement in the campaign effort.

The Ruth Institute has also intervened in campaigns to elect San Diego County judges as part of a candidate slate supported by an organization called Better Courts Now. Better Courts Now endorsed a slate of four judicial candidates in the California primary election on June 8, 2010. The evidence includes Ruth Institute website content and video endorsing Better Courts Now and encouraging readers to support its candidate slate.

In Iowa, three of the justices of the state Supreme Court face a retention election this November. The Ruth Institute has advocated their recall, which is political intervention in violation of Section 501(c)(3). The Ruth Institute website made the case for “Why the Iowa Judges Have to Go” two days after NOM reported spending $235,000 on independent expenditure television ads calling for the rejection of the justices.

Today’s complaint follows a September 20th Washington Independent story that suggested NOM had funneled millions more in tax-exempt donations from charitable groups into other political campaigns.

NOM is fighting campaign finance laws in a number of states, including New York, Washington, California and Maine, where it remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and refusing to disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009.


  • 1. Alan E.  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:12 am

    hehehe you said videotape.

  • 2. Ann S.  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:20 am


  • 3. AndrewPDX  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:32 am


    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 4. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:47 am


  • 5. JonT  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:58 am


  • 6. Ronnie  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:17 am

    "NOM busted"

    has a nice ring to it…I'm just saying….. ; ) ….Ronnie

  • 7. Carpool Cookie  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Yes…and those chasing them are the "NOM-Busters".

  • 8. Alan E.  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Who you gonna call?!

  • 9. Wine Country Lurker  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Alan, you have just succeeded in dispersing diet coke through my nasal passages. (*ouch*)

    When will you be writing the theme song? 🙂

  • 10. Carpool Cookie  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:39 am


  • 11. Carpool Cookie  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Or, I think I meant:

  • 12. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:22 am

    They would be very quick to go to the IRS and the FEC if someone were doing the same thing, so I say take them all the way in court!

  • 13. Felyx  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I have finally come up with a rough draft of a P8TT amicus brief for the Prop8 case. Hey, if NOM can send their ridiculous stuff I figure I could do a lot better! But I need help with research, citations and proofreading of grammar and content. If anyone is interested, please email me at civilmarriagerightsnc (This is an axillary account so I am not bothered by spam.) I will send you a copy and you can suggest alterations.
    Felyx & Kevyn

    And here is the PDF version of the Prop8TrialTracker Amicus Brief that you can look at without having to ask for it via email. Please, take a look and help us out — any help is welcome.
    – ♂K♥F♂

  • 14. Wine Country Lurker  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:15 am

    This is draft P8TT ami8cus brief freaking awesome!

    Alas I have no legal research skillz. Though I would be happy to provide random what-about-this commentary and/or OCD nit-picky proof-reading services.

    I do note that the "casual" formatting was difficult to read, compared to the double-spaced-with-line-numbers style of other filed "official" documents. So that might be something you might consider changing. I assume judges prefer "easy on the eyes" reading. 🙂

  • 15. fiona64  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:22 am

    That's the only complaint I have as well. The double-spacing and line numbering is pretty standard format for court documents, as it allows for easy referencing of the materials.


  • 16. Kathleen  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:42 am

    There are very strict formatting requirements – font size, line numbering, etc.- and rules about about length. I'm not familiar with them all, but will try to put you in touch with someone who is.

  • 17. Felyx  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:59 am


    Do you think you might be able to add some documentation to support alternate forms of marriage? I wanted to add a few sentences about that but documenting it is getting to be too laborious for me to do alone.

    Anyway, formatting etc. will be tackled by Kirill first and anyone else who knows better after (Kathleen is trying to put me in touch with someone for that… but there is no guarantees… so anyone else?)

    Thank you everyone, 78 reads (per scribd stats) so far and about 6 personal email exchanges with two suggestions already made… please keep them coming! This can be everyone's brief… don't be afraid to send something in… a paragraph or just some citation or court cases that would help. Thanks everyone.


  • 18. fiona64  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Hi, Felyx. You already have adelphopoiia, but I would also recommend items from here: History of Marriage in Western Civilization. This shows that, even in the USA, there was not just one definition for marriage — let alone throughout the rest of Western civilization.

    I'll try to find a few more sources, one posted at a time so we don't get lost to moderation.


  • 19. fiona64  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I could only find the abstract on this one, but it's the American Ethnologist — a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. If you have PubMed or similar for your nursing CE units, you should be able to get the whole thing for free.

    Wedding bell blues: Marriage, missing men, and matrifocal follies

  • 20. fiona64  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:22 am

    American Anthropological Association statement on marriage:

  • 21. Felyx  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:34 am

    If you have time and interest Fiona, please write something to add with the citations included. I will check out the History of Marriage in Western Civilization and see what I can add.

    Thanks again.


  • 22. Sagesse  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Won't get to it until the weekend, Felyx, but I will read and comment.

  • 23. Felyx  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Thanks Sagesse. And remember to send an email with changes if you come up with something. Felyx

    [email protected]

  • 24. Leo  |  October 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Hi Felyx,

    I have no legal training, but I don't think the whole line of argument involving closeted gay framers is a good one. What follows isn't meant to be hostile; I'm just better at refuting arguments than constructing them.

    First, it's pure conjecture. Maybe some of the framers were gay, maybe not. I don't see how the fact that it's a reasonable possibility is a guidance for the court. Second, and more importantly, this argument goes against the evidentiary record: the expert testimony in the case is that the concept of "gay" as an identity did not exist before the 20th century. Even if some of the framers were gay, they probably didn't think of themselves as gay. Third, even if they thought of themselves as gay, it's another conjecture to say they understood the constitution to protect gay rights. Fourth, even if there were gay framers and they (but not the other framers?) interpreted the constitution to protect gay rights, where does that get us? (how should that guide the court?) Fifth, the judgment on appeal is that Prop 8 violates two clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process and Equal Protection). The 14th amendment wasn't written by the Framers. Sixth, and most importantly, the argument at best leads to an irrelevant conclusion: that the constitution doesn't allow abridging gay people's rights. That's not in dispute in this case. What's in dispute is whether such rights include marrying the person of one's choice regardless of sex. Also in dispute is whether gays are a protected class that merits strict scrutiny. But again, you can't conclude that on the basis of some framers being gay, just like you couldn't conclude that blond or left-handed people are a protected class on the basis that some framers were blond or left-handed.

  • 25. Felyx  |  October 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Hi Leo,

    First off, it would be better to send this kind of comment to the [email protected] address I posted. I will most likely not catch a lot of these comments because I am so busy and will just miss them.

    Secondly, this is very much the content analysis that I am seeking! Thank you.

    Thirdly, this portion is not finished or polished. It is a rough draft at an attempt to poke at Scalia's originalism interpretive crap. You are right in suggesting that the word 'gay' should not be used. I will change it to 'persons with same-gender attraction' or the like. This will reduce or fix most of your points. Furthermore, I will try to reword it to imply that same-gender attracted individuals (such as Franklin was rumored to have been…) would have been mindful that equality was for all and that particular gender attraction would have been included in that mindset of equality.

    Thank you again for the comment. At the very least please send it to the gmail account. If possible consider rewording it yourself to save me some effort, I would really love that if you could do it! If not I will try again or leave it out entirely.

    Thank you,

  • 26. Ronnie  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:27 am

    For those who are religious….Bishop Gene Robinson promises "It Gets Better"…..<3…Ronnie:…!

  • 27. Sagesse  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Subscribing now to read, and watch later. Gene Robinson is a very good spokesperson.

    Is there a link for the Washington Independent article. I seem to have missed this one.

  • 28. Chris in Lathrop  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Standing ovation for Bishop Robinson, and a hearty thank-you to the Episcopal church for being a bastion of light amongst so much religulous darkness! Sir, you are truly amazing. If all religious people thought as you do, society as we know it would be so much better off.

    Thank you, Bishop Robinson!

  • 29. Kathleen  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:19 am

  • 30. Kathleen  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Let's try again

  • 31. Bob  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:20 am

    thank you Bishop Gene Robinson, for the message it gets better, indeed it has for you, can you please post another video, informing us of how you are using your position of power in the church to work at making things better.

    We need strong advocates like you to stand up to religious intolerance, which is as you say flat out wrong, this has been the case throughout history that different religions went to battle for their differing versions of what god told tthem.

    There has been a constant swing back and forth between the right and the left, The battle lines are a bit more obscure today, because we in fact have churches divided against themselves,

    We need a strong voice like yours, to take a stand, and expose the fact that we have the freedom to follow our individual consicience in these matters, And right now there is strong pressure to curb that freedom, if you exist and believe the way you do, you need to be more vocal in your fight for that right.

    Affirming churches are being persecuted, if different people are hearing differing messages from god, what would god's will be in this situation.

    Show us that in fact it does get better, by taking on this battle with the religious right in a more open fashion, unite with other affirming churches, and stand up for equality, in a way that is visible, So we can witness your battle, and youth may see how it's done, and that someone is doing it.

  • 32. John  |  October 15, 2010 at 3:44 am

    An example of a religious leader you might look at is Desmond Tutu – he's spoken quite clearly and loudly.

    As for "not doing enough", who of us does?

    To NOM, I'd say: "Give Ceasar what is Ceasar's." Jesus paid taxes.

  • 33. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I know he's done enough to have to wear a bullet proof vest when he speaks in front of large crowds. And NOM is the one that is persecuted….but I digress. I too would love to hear his story and accomplishments and why he chose to speak out so much about this.

  • 34. Ronnie  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Now this is how a political organization does charity……

    Group delivers message
    Equality NC mocks Kernersville representative's e-mail with nearly 300 Froot Loops boxes

    "Equality NC raised $8,500 in donations from the incident, and the story made it onto the television show Saturday Night Live last weekend and into a number of well-read newspapers and blogs around the country."

    "The cereal itself will be donated to the Triad Health Project’s food pantry, which helps feed people living with HIV, Ian Palmquist (Equality NC's administrative coordinator) said.

    (me) A political action & charitable action done at the same time….2 points for Equality….<3…Ronnie

  • 35. Ronnie  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:11 am

    More from that article……

    "Gay-rights activists delivered 279 empty miniboxes of Froot Loops cereal to the N.C. statehouse yesterday to call out state Rep. Larry Brown of Kernersville for his recent reference to “queers” and “fruitloops.”

    Each box had a message for Brown pasted on the back. Brown, a Republican who represents the 73rd District, made news across the country in recent weeks for an e-mail that he sent fellow GOP legislators."

    (me) he wanted fruit loops….he got fruit loops…well the boxes anyway with some messages to loop…(hahaha…I said loop)….<3..Ronnie

  • 36. Chris in Lathrop  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Just awesome! To have seen the look on his face…

  • 37. Alan E.  |  October 15, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Hey North Carolina people. You might want to head over to an event in Raleigh this Sunday, possibly a kiss-in at a shopping center that kicked out a lesbian couple for holding hands and kissing. I don't know any details, but you might be able to find more through links on this article.

  • 38. Felyx  |  October 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I think one us will be there Alan! Felyx

  • 39. Ronnie  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:02 am

    So NOM is creating a campaign to say Homosexuals do not love…I guarantee that if a 2man couple or a 2woman couple or 2men Parents or 2women Parents send in photos they will not use it….they are attempting to define what love is for every single American…They blatantly saying that we as LGBT are incapable of love…this proves animus towards the LGBT community…it degrading, demeaning, insulting, un-American, inhuman, unacceptable….They do nothing but disrespect us then demand that we respect them…they are Fascist pigs through & through….Quotes from their "Protect Marriage: One Man One Woman" Facebook page:

    Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman ~ "We're announcing a one month poster contest as part of the first annual "Reel Love Challenge", a video contest targeting college students around the country, and aimed at promoting a positive view of marriage and lasting love. More info below:" …..(me)here is the link they posted ….

    Becky Toney Parsons ~ We are not Sodom and Gamorrah, we are the United States of America. But if we allow same sex marriages, allow Gay celebrations, etc we will end uo just like they did – destroyed by God because of sexual imorality, namely homosezuality. Befor He destroyed them He warned them and allowed people to change and leave. Today they must turn or burn.
    17 hours ago · 4 people ·

    (me) do you feel the love?… you the feel them trying to force us to be their version of Christian?

    Daniel Ashcroft ~ "Yes, this entire country, neigh, this entire world shall be consumed by God's righteous fire! We all shall burn if we do not turn the homosexual back into the way of God!"

    (me) excuse me?…turn the homosexual back blah blah?….& how exactly do you plan to that?….I hope he's prepared for a physical fight because no anti-gay Gestapo will ever get within 2 feet of me……

    Dustin Brian Lee Tenney ~ "Daniel, there is progress being made, Russia decided to stop the Gay agenda permanently in their country, and just Recently the Governor of Mexico said that the Gay agenda disgusts him."

    (me) Kerill (I probably spelt that wrong…apologies) I think you would have something to say about that….

    Shade Festus ~ "thank God for that! i'm so happy @ Dustin God keep working wonders"

    (me) ummm..applauding someone who expressed Fascism & imprisonment…aren't you just a peach?…..

    Steven Bates ‎~ "@Dustin…reassuring news is always welcomed…perhaps now we will see more people and groups standing up against the illness that is homosexuality and then they might get the real help that they truly need."

    (me) really guys I'm feeling the love from NOM….NOT!!!!!!…Steven Bates has advocated murder & violence towards LGBT people all over Facebook…as well as Muslims & people of Color & he's not exactly pleasant to strong independent women……

    Steven Bates ~ "WHO (that is validly in this group for the reasons OF the group) has spoke in favor of violence upon anyone….apparently your reading skills ARE in need of attention….this group speaks on helping homosexuals and strengthening HETEROSEXUAL marriages. Yes, we ARE Christian…learn the Bible and repent and maybe you could be too."

    (me) the comment he replied too was deleted…but you know that page promotes open dialogue as was said my the admin…& yet the admin deleted it…..

    Shannon Jones Williams ~ "Clyde, if you have read the Bible, then I'm Mother Theresa.

    You do know that lying is a sin, don't you?"

    (me) funny her posting that on a NOM FB page, yeah?……

    Melvin Corker ~ "Homosexuality and other sexual sins are viruses that will destroy a nation, from Sodom and Gomorrah to the great Roman Empire, and other nations throughout history, this behaviour, lifestyle, and cult will erode a nation. Brothers and sisters lets fight for our country and pray that this will not happen to America."

    (me) ummmmmm……

    Becky Toney Parsons ~ "We do not hate the homosexual. We hate the sin of the homosexual act. We love the sinners and pray for their eyes to be opened. If the states keep condonning these marriages their eyes will never be opened. And if Christians condemn the person and are cruel to them, we will never love them to Christ. Remember the scripture thst says homosexuals, liars, adulters, etc. will not be in heaven also says "and such WERE some of you. We must not attack them, we must love them and give them God's Word. "A brother offended is harder to be won than a fortified city." "We love Christ because He first loved us." If we love them right where they are and give them God's Word, the Holy Spirit will convict them."
    2 hours ago · 2 people

    (me) sooooo many anti-gay platitudes…I don't know where to start….keyboard meet head….BOAW!…BOAW!!….BOAW!!!…… : – & ….Ronnie:

  • 40. Chris in Lathrop  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Breaking laws and spreading lies in the name of saving marriage. Seems these NOMnuts get flakier every time you turn around. Heh!

  • 41. truthspew  |  October 15, 2010 at 9:12 am

    This is going to be interesting to see how the IRS plays this one. A revocation of their 501(c)(3) would be a cherry on the cake in bringing NOM down.

  • 42. Kat  |  October 15, 2010 at 10:27 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?

  • 43. John  |  October 16, 2010 at 12:04 am

    NOM is not a tax-exempt non-profit. They are allowed to engage in politics. If you donate to NOM, not Ruth Institute, you can't claim the donation on your taxes.

    Ruth Institute (what a pompous name) is a tax-exempt non-profit. Basically, it was created as a place to where donors would get tax deductions for donating and which itself wouldn't have to pay taxes.

    The deal with being tax exempt is simple: You can't support candidates if you are tax exempt. But you can do nearly anything else. If this rule would be something you don't want to do, the solution is also simple: just pay taxes and then you can support candidates, too.

    It's all about the money. 🙂

  • 44. Kat  |  October 16, 2010 at 4:00 am

    I know they're allowed to engage in politics, but they're technically only allowed to engage in politics if they follow the rules, the most important of which being the rule that you must disclose your donors wrt direct democracy initiatives/referendums. Which they adamantly refuse to do, violating and challenging campaign finance laws in every state they get involved with. What government body oversees non-profits? There has to be some agency to report them to. I figured funneling obscene amounts of money into state campaigns anonymously falls under the IRS radar?

  • 45. MichaelinOregon  |  October 16, 2010 at 1:35 am

    A little of topic…..however, is it true that Plaintiff's response to DI appeal's are due on the 18th?

  • 46. Kathleen  |  October 16, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Yes. Plaintiffs-Appellees' answer brief is due Oct 18 at midnight. I'll be 'on duty' Monday, watching for its filing. As soon as it is, I'll get a copy, upload it to Scribd and provide a link. So stay tuned to P8TT. 🙂

  • 47. Sagesse  |  October 16, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Jesse Zwick at the Washington Independent has been following NOM's funding. Sorry if these have been posted before and I missed it.

    In Wake of Ballot Initiatives, Questions About the National Organization for Marriage’s Funding

  • 48. Sagesse  |  October 16, 2010 at 4:48 am

    And this one.

    The National Organization for Marriage Case in Rhode Island, Explained

  • 49. Sagesse  |  October 16, 2010 at 4:50 am

    And one more.

    Despite Recession, Catholic Groups Grant Charitable Funds to Anti-Gay Marriage Initiatives

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