Dear Marriage Supporter,
I have some breaking news for you! Today, NOM filed suit against the IRS over the leak of our confidential tax documents from their offices and to discover how these documents got into the hands of our chief political opponent, the Human Rights Campaign in March 2012.
It's a felony to release or receive confidential tax returns. NOM's case has garnered a lot of attention throughout the course of this year — especially following our chairman Professor John Eastman's explosive testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee this past June. We have been working hard to make sure that not only our rights, but every American's rights, to freedom of speech and association are protected as they should be.
Unfortunately, despite our efforts and the efforts of several members of Congress, the IRS and Obama Administration continue to every request to get to the bottom of this crime and hold accountable to the American people those responsible for this deed. That's why our lawsuit is so important, not only for our case, but for anyone who has been harassed and targeted over their political beliefs. As Dr. Eastman explains in his op-ed today on FoxNews.com, "The politicization of the IRS... is a dangerous development, a threat to the liberty of every citizen, and it needs to be stopped. NOM's suit is an important step in that effort."
Dr. Eastman writes,
It was March of 2012. Marriage was on the ballot in 5 states that year: North Carolina in May; and Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington in November. Those seeking to redefine marriage had an uphill battle. 32 states had voted since 2004 to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage by large margins, and no State had voted to approve same0sex ‘marriage.' But campaigns of intimidation and harassment against donors to the traditional marriage cause and its flagship organization, the National Organization for Marriage, had begun to take its toll. The Human Rights Campaign ("HRC"), NOM's principal opponent in these political battles, even had a website, "NOM Exposed," designed to publicly identify NOM and its supporters and donors so they and their businesses could be harassed. But HRC wanted more. They wanted access to NOM's confidential list of donors, lists that NOM is required to file with the IRS but are not public information.
Magically, soon after their president was named a national Co-Chair of the Obama Releection campaign, the HRC got what they wanted. It's an established fact that the information originated with the IRS.
That leak of confidential information had its desired effect. Dr. Eastman explains:
The campaign of harassment and intimidation that had been tried and perfected in the fight over California's Proposition 8 could now begin again in the 2012 election cycle. That effort succeeded. Donations to NOM and to the ballot campaigns then underway became increasingly hard to come by, to the point that the same-sex marriage forces were able to outspend NOM and its allies by more than $20 million dollars (a nearly 4 to 1 advantage) in the 4 States where marriage was on the ballot in November 2012, resulting in the first electoral losses for traditional marriage ever.
What happened at the IRS concerning the illegal leak of our confidential tax return and donor information is the most serious example to date of the kinds of intimidation tactics that same-sex marriage activists use to bully folks and try to scare us from the public square.
And yet it's been eighteen months since the illegal disclosure of our 2008 Form 990 Schedule B which eventually made its way into the hands of the Human Rights Campaign... and no charges have been filed, nor any demonstration made of what internal investigations into the matter involved or discovered. In fact, the IRS claims that releasing the name of the culprit is illegal on the basis of the very same federal statute that was violated in the leak! Talk about an Orwellian irony!
An organization with the power and reach of the IRS must be held to account for the scandal of political targeting, or else our treasured First Amendment rights run the risk of becoming worth less than the parchment they're written on.
So, we'll be fighting the IRS in court to get to the bottom of this matter. This lawsuit goes hand-in-hand with one of our central beliefs as Americans: the belief that no one should ever have reason to be afraid to exercise his or her freedom to speak, write, act, donate, or vote on behalf of the common sense principle that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
The Human Rights Campaign has a notorious record of intimidation and bullying. Pro-marriage individuals are targeted by HRC and others — such as the Southern Poverty Law Center — with all kinds of charged and libelous rhetoric — such as "hate speech" and "hate groups" — in the hopes that they will feel too threatened and frightened to express their views publicly.
The most flagrant instance of what this kind of uncivil behavior can lead to was seen last August, when Floyd Corkins used the SPLC's "hate map" to compile a list of organizations that he hoped to target in a murderous shooting spree. But for the heroic actions of a security guard at his first target — the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council — there's no imagining what the tragic results might have been.
Of course, Corkins' deadly plans are an instance of extremism. But extremism is no stranger to the HRC. Their stock in trade is bullying, harassment and intimidation. (See their disgusting website, NOM Exposed, for an example.)
One way or another, the HRC is not going to be able to just ignore the felony that has occurred. They are going to have to answer how they came into possession of a confidential tax return and donor information — information that unquestionably originated with the IRS itself — at the very time their president was raising millions of dollars for President Obama's reelection campaign as a national co-chair.
I say "one way or another" — that's because, in addition to the suit we've just filed, there are others looking into this matter. Just this past Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's chairman Darrell Issa announced that his committee would be holding an investigation into the IRS's malfeasances as well. In a statement to NRO's The Corner, Issa said:
This information will give us a better sense of why these groups faced delays, what questions they were asked, and what sort of communications were occurring within the IRS in regards to the inappropriate delays and the apparently politically driven leak.
"The truth will come to light," said Shakespeare. But sometimes it needs a little help, and we're going to give it all we can to ensure that the truth of this matter is exposed for the American people. The protection of our core liberties demands nothing less.
As I said, this case is not just about NOM, but about every American's right to the freedoms of speech, religion, and association. I'm glad we've finally filed this critical suit, but NOM still needs to press forward, not just with the case, but with the marriage battles across the country — New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, and in Congress. Please consider a generous donation to NOM today to help us win these fights. And remember, now is a great time to make a gift because your generosity will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million.
Thank you for your faithfulness to NOM and the unique and critical institution of marriage.
Brian S. Brown