A state political action committee for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay group who it emerged last week had used race-baiting tactics in order to fight marriage equality.
Free & Strong America PAC Alabama, one of a network of state-level PACs that has raised and disbursed money on Romney’s behalf, gave the donation in 2008 to the National Organization for Marriage, which at the time was working to pass Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in California, disclosure records show.
The Romney campaign says the donation to NOM is hardly surprising given the candidate’s opposition to same-sex marriage and his avowed support for Proposition 8, which was approve by California voters.
“Gov. Romney believes marriage is an institution between a man and a woman and his PAC made a donation to a group supporting that view,” campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said Friday.
Romney’s donation came on Oct. 14, 2008, just weeks before Californians voted to pass Proposition 8.
The HRC notes that Romney’s PAC did not disclose the contribution in its Federal Election Commission filings:
HRC reviewed copies of Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC’s filings with the Federal Election Commission — and no contribution to NOM was disclosed in those documents. The filings are available from the FEC. But, HRC did discover an Alabama-based “Free and Strong America” PAC that in 2008 does disclose the $10,000 contribution to NOM. Available on page 3 at: http://arc-sos.state.al.us/PEL/SOSELPDF.001/E0090860.PDF.
The evidence continues to pile up and is painting a very clear picture of Mitt Romney’s anti-LGBT associations. A candidate can’t claim to be “better for gay rights than [Ted] Kennedy” when it’s convenient, but then fund a far-right anti-LGBT strategy to keep other interest groups happy.
“Mitt Romney’s funding of a hate-filled campaign designed to drive a wedge between Americans is beyond despicable,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese also said in a statement. “Not only has Romney signed NOM’s radical marriage pledge, now we know he’s one of the donors that NOM has been so desperate to keep secret all these years.”
As Care2 reported last week, the Human Rights Campaign secured unsealed documents from a court case into NOM’s campaign funding in Maine. NOM had stridently resisted releasing these documents, and it soon became clear why. Page 13 of the document showed NOM at its race-baiting worst, saying:
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks–two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”
The document, which we broke down for you in considerable detail, also revealed NOM’s plans for fighting marriage equality internationally and its plan to recruit “elite” kids to take up the fight.
The LDS church’s contributions to the pro-Proposition 8 campaign have been known for some time now, and given Romney’s religious and political affiliations his PAC’s donation to NOM is, as his spokesperson says, perhaps no surprise.
However, just as some NOM affiliates have denounced the group since revelations of their divide and conquer tactics came to light, the onus is now on the Romney campaign to state unequivocally that, with this fresh information, it does not support how NOM sort to pit Americans of color against gay rights groups in order to fight their culture war against marriage equality.
Anything less and Romney risks appearing to condone NOM’s actions.
To read our full coverage of the NOM race-baiting scandal, please click here.