National Organization for Marriage Files Suit against IRS
by Terri Eyden on
By Jason Bramwell
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) filed a lawsuit against the IRS on October 3, claiming it has "irrefutable proof" the agency illegally released the pro-traditional marriage organization's 2008 confidential tax return to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization that supports same-sex marriage.
NOM is seeking damages as a result of the unauthorized disclosure, according to a complaint filed by the ActRight Legal Foundation on behalf of NOM in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
NOM is also asking that the IRS disclose the person or persons responsible for the release of the organization's confidential tax return information. The unauthorized disclosure of tax information is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The lawsuit claims that on March 30, 2012, NOM became aware that the unredacted Schedule B to its Form 990, containing the names and addresses of its donors, was illegally inspected and disclosed by an employee or employees of the IRS, who then passed the information on to HRC. According to the lawsuit, HRC shared the tax return information with the Huffington Post.
"This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation," NOM President Brian Brown said in a written statement.
In a March 30, 2012, blog post on the Huffington Post website, HRC Assistant General Counsel Darrin Hurwitz wrote that in the aftermath of California's Proposition 8, NOM strategically leveraged large secret donations to fund the anti-gay marriage movement across the country. In his blog, Hurwitz published the names of some organizations and individuals and the amounts they donated to NOM for its Prop 8 effort.
NOM also claims in its lawsuit that HRC published the confidential tax return information on its website on or about March 30, 2012. According to the lawsuit, HRC has since removed that information from its site.
In another article posted on the Huffington Post site on March 30, 2012, one of NOM's major donors was the political action committee (PAC) for then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The PAC made a $10,000 donation to the not-for-profit conservative group in 2008.