The National Organization for Marriage, after trying to downplay the widespread condemnation it received over its race-baiting tactics, has now gone on the offensive and accused the HRC of illegally obtaining its 2008 federal tax return.
“It appears that someone with either the IRS or the HRC may have committed a federal crime by illegally obtaining and then releasing a confidential tax return of the National Organization for Marriage,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “It’s clear that the tax return was stolen, either from NOM or from the government. The Huffington Post article says that HRC claimed they received the document from a ‘whistleblower.’ But the term ‘whistleblower’ is completely inapt. We’re talking about a criminal who has stolen confidential tax return information. We demand to know who this criminal is, whether they work for the HRC or the IRS, and how they obtained confidential tax information filed only with the US government.”
It is illegal for a government official or employee to make use of or publicly release a taxpayer’s tax return. The form 990 Schedule B is submitted by nonprofit groups to the IRS and includes information on donor identity, including name, address and contribution amount. While federal law requires that nonprofit groups make their form 990 filings available for public inspection, the law provides that Schedule B information—the name and address of the contributor—is redacted, leaving only the amount given and the date of the donation as publicly-available information. Here, the un-redacted Schedule B was somehow obtained by the HRC. That information could only have come from the IRS itself, or have been stolen from NOM.
“I would like to know what the HRC knew and when did they know it,” Brown said. “It certainly appears that either the HRC was involved in illegally obtaining this tax return themselves, or they worked with a criminal who stole it from NOM or the IRS. Either way, it appears that a federal crime may have been committed.”
Brown said he would present a written demand for an investigation to both the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Heavy on accusations but low on actual evidence there.
The Human Rights Campaign were of course the ones who widely distributed unsealed court documents that contained NOM’s private memos and revealed the anti-gay group’s race-baiting, youth recruiting, international strategy. They also managed to find out that a state political action committee for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave $10,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign during 2008. The controversy seems to stem from where the latter information was gleaned.
Jeremy Hooper of Good As You, who has written for the HRC’s NOM Exposed blog, called these allegations “baseless”, saying “the continued fear of public awareness regarding the NOM support base only makes the dark shadows organization look worse, not better.”
At the time of writing the Human Rights Campaign has not yet directly commented on these allegations but, if their blog is anything to go by, the HRC doesn’t seem to be losing sleep over this.
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