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Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to NOM to help pass Proposition 8

NOM Exposed Right-wing

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:

“Itโ€™s clear now that Romney was a major financial donor to Prop. 8,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president for communications. “But itโ€™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 thereโ€™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.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  March 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm


  • 2. JoeRH  |  March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Where is the donor list?

  • 3. BradK  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    That's what I want to know. Was this unsealed by the Maine court along with the smoking gun playbook?

    Either way though is anyone really surprised that Romney — a Mormon, and a rich one at that — financially supported the Mormon Proposition? I would have been shocked if he hadn't. And we've suspected all along that NOM was a Mormon front group.

    Same with the fact he went to great lengths to conceal his support. Like so many of his self-contradictory attempts to stake out a position, he comes across as genuinely committed to absolutely nothing. By supporting NOM he should hope to score points with the KKKhristians and the 'phobes (though at the risk of alienating moderates and younger voters) yet Rick's Crotum is mopping the church floors with Mittens. Burn the candle at both ends long enough and you'll get burned.

  • 4. Scott Wooledge  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    It isn't clear to me the court had a donor list to unseal.

    NOM might never have revealed them to anyone.

    And may now be in contempt of court for not disclosing.

  • 5. MJFargo  |  March 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

    While we don't know with certainty who funds NOM, both Ms. Gallagher and Mr. Brown are Roman Catholic and only one member of LDS is on the board at NOM. And I'm only noting this because to conclude that NOM is a "Mormon front group" is supposition.

  • 6. BradK  |  March 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    A characterization certainly, but one supported by much evidence. The LDS church's fingerprints are all over NOM from the very beginning. And just like their homeboy Mitt they have tried to conceal it, no doubt in the name of good public relations. The HRC and Fred Karger have looked into it quite extensively.

    The Catholic church on the other hand at least has the testicular fortitude to proudly stand behind their efforts to directly promote bigotry. The LDS church has not the strength of its convictions and prefers to lurk in the shadows.

  • 7. MJFargo  |  March 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Perhaps the LDS have more shame about their activities? Sarcasm aside, the Mormon heirarchy clearly knew they needed to hide their involvement in the Prop 8 campaign, and were roundly fined by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

    Reading the first article you cited, I think, proves both our points as well as Evangelicals being part of a "trifecta." Nevertheless, until those donor records are unsealed, blaming one group (when others were probably involved) seems, oh…incomplete. There's lots of blame to go around. Not everyone who voted for Prop 8 was a Mormon.

  • 8. BradK  |  March 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    "…Not everyone who voted for Prop 8 was a Mormon…"

    Certainly not. Though it's not a stretch to imagine that nearly every voting Mormon in CA punched in the affirmative for Prop8. And how many of them might not have done so had they not been instructed to by their earthly "elders"?

    That the WASPs and Catholics may have done the same doesn't excuse the LDS, That they attempted to hide it, only worse.

  • 9. MJFargo  |  April 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I pulled this off of Wikipedia who cites the Pew Group as the source, but a breakdown in California by religion:
    Protestant – 36%
    (Evangelical Protestant – 18%)
    (Mainline Protestant – 14%)
    (Black Protestant – 4%)
    Roman Catholic – 31%
    LDS – 2%
    Jewish – 2%
    Muslim – <0.5%
    Other Religions – 4% Non-Religious/ Atheist/ Agnostic – 21%

    While these are not the voting population, I think it highlights where the power in any particular block might lie (lay). Particularly given NOM's effort (which we saw as lame during their summer tour) to be divisive along race/Nation origin. I always experienced that (back during the Prop 8 campaign and its aftermath) as a smoke screen to keep the real culprits hidden. The trial addressed this as well as the lack of power LGBT people have in the face of large groups who organize/organized against us.

  • 10. fiona64  |  April 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The Church of LDS already got themselves in hot water with the IRS over their very vocal involvement in Hawaii's proposed marriage equality laws … and learned that they needed to be more clever about covering their tracks.

    /Reader's Digest Condensed Version

  • 11. MJFargo  |  April 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm


  • 12. Richard Lyon  |  March 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    This is always the way that the state of our birth gets into the news.

  • 13. JoeRH  |  March 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Oops, nevermind!

  • 14. Seth from Maryland  |  March 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    NOM Starbucks boycott is a big FAIL: "'We're not seeing any impact,' says Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson. If anything, NOM's attack has endeared Starbucks to the public and sends a message to Fortune 500 companies that defending gay rights is safe political ground

  • 15. MightyAcorn  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    (or "grounds," as it were.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 16. James Sweet  |  March 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    And will he distance himself from NOM’s racist tactics? There is a petition asking him to do that here.

    I'm sorry, but my reaction here is basically, "Who cares?" Like it would somehow make it okay if Romney was like, "Woah there, I was totally down with the NOM when they were promoting ex-gay therapies and fighting against civil rights, but their questionable tactics regarding minority voters is where I draw the line!"?

    Sorry to pull a Godwin here, but this is sort of like calling on a neo-Nazi group to distance themselves from Hitler's oppression of gypsies. It sort of misses the point.

    Yes, the recent revelations about NOM's tactics were important, if only that it demonstrates to people who may be on the fence that NOM is Just That Evil. But look: They would STILL be evil even if they had never once resorted to racially divisive tactics. Why does anybody care if Romney supports NOM but "distances himself" from these particular tactics? If he supports NOM, he can kiss my ass either way.

  • 17. BradK  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I couldn't agree more. Petitioning Mittens to forsake NOM like Peter to Christ only sends a message that somehow we care what he thinks or does.

    We don't.

  • 18. James Sweet  |  March 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    In fact, I rather hope Romney doesn't "distance himself" from this particular manifestation of NOM's evil. That there are voters out there who are totally fine with Romney stomping LGBT people but are turned off by NOM's racism is a depressing fact, but it is still a fact. If Romney decries NOM's racially divisive tactics, there are presumably a non-zero number of voters will say, "Oh well fine then, good on him for being a homophobe, as long as he's not a racist," and will vote for him. NO. I don't want that.

  • 19. Rich  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    So, we know that Romney financially supports NOM. Of course he does and I didn't intend to vote for him anyway. And of course Romney supports NOM's tactics. The racism and hate NOM generates translates to the base that Romney has courted to beat back Santorum.

    But…my bigger concern is with the financial support the Catholic Diocese of Maine has given to NOM because it makes me wonder: Does the diocese also support the hateful tactics and, we're they aware of them back in 2009? I have directed questions to the Diocese spokesperson, so far, nothing!

  • 20. BradK  |  March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I don't have the data in front of me, but I recall seeing a donor list right after Prop 1 that listed not only the Maine diocese but practically every other diocese in the nation. It was the equivalent of the Mormon church's edict that all followers must donate to the hate — compliance is mandatory.

    And of course so many diocese are nearly broke after being forced to pay restitution to the victims of their employees' multi-decade child raping spree. You hear all the "pity us" stories about having to close down schools, orphanages, shelters, and underperforming parishes because of a lack of funds, yet they always find plenty of spare change to fund some hatin' on the gays.

  • 21. Mormon Mother  |  March 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Sorry to contradict you, but compliance was not mandatory. I did not donate and I know other Mormons who did not donate. We are still members. Both of our vehicles had '"No on 8" bumper stickers–no doubt where we stood on the issue. This was more a local leadership issue (I do now there were reports of members being questioned about their not donating, but this was not church wide).

  • 22. MJFargo  |  March 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    And I too want to stress that members of a particular faith don't always follow lock-step with their leadership. It isn't fair to condemn followers of a particular faith even if their leadership may be against us. It's too broad a brush to paint a whole religion (many of whom support us) in a bad light.

  • 23. Lesbians Love Boies  |  March 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Did Romney write off that donation of $10k?

  • 24. Don in Texas  |  March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    No write off needed. It was a donation from a little-known Romney PAC in Alabama.

  • 25. BradK  |  March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Mittens is a one percenter. To him, ten large is change for the parking meter. NOM should take umbrage that he didn't give more.

  • 26. fiona64  |  April 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Yep. Remember how casually he wagered that amount during one of the debates?

  • 27. Jim  |  March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    We now know the names of the rogue's gallery of haters who financed NOM in 2008. Some names are hardly a surprise: Hyatt hotel owner Doug Manchester (who gave $125,000 through his company, Manchester Financial); mutual fund scion John Templeton and wife Josephine, the bigots behind the Templeton Foundation, who gave $550,000; and, of course, Romney. See the full list of hate supporters here:

  • 28. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    […] week it was revealed that Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008 through an obscure Alabama PAC to help them pass Proposition 8. The donation was well-known at the time but the revelation that it […]

  • 29. NOMโ€™s racist tactics cr&hellip  |  April 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    […] week it was revealed that Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008 through an obscure Alabama PAC to help them pass Proposition 8. The donation was well-known at the time but the revelation that it […]

  • 30. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    […] it was discovered that when Mitt Romney donated to help the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in 2008, he sent his donation through unusual channels, making it difficult to find his donation. A whistleblower sent the filing to the Human Rights […]

  • 31. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    […] champion” of so-called ‘traditional marriage’, the organization – which had received a $10,000 donation from Romney in 2008 to help pass Proposition 8 in California – attacked the president for […]

  • 32. Volunteer Ecuador  |  May 9, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Did Mitt Romney really donated such a huge fund, I wonder?

  • 33. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  May 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    […] Romney had donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008 to help pass Proposition 8, and he donated the money through an obscure Alabama PAC in order to […]

  • 34. Eric  |  November 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

    From what I have read he is actually a multibillionaire. And regarding the 10k, only he himself will know if it is nothing or not for him. Well I hope that you could comprehend what I just wrote. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 35. Eric  |  November 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

    BTW, Mitt Romney also has 5 well groomed sons with well paid employments, so I would guess that 10k wouldn't such a big deal for the family, the sons:

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