FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)
"Thanks to a lot of hard work, we've forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information." — John Eastman, NOM chairman —
Washington, D.C. — In response to a lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has admitted wrongdoing in releasing the organization's confidential tax return and donor list which was obtained by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), NOM's chief political rival. The IRS has agreed to pay NOM $50,000 to settle the lawsuit.
"It has been a long and arduous process to hold the IRS accountable for their illegal release of our confidential tax return and donor list, which was ultimately given to our chief political rival by the recipient," said John Eastman, NOM's chairman and a member of the ActRight legal Foundation team that brought the lawsuit against the IRS on NOM's behalf in October, 2013. "In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we've forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information."
NOM said that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had "a conduit" to obtain NOM's confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit. Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM's tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.
"While we are very pleased that the IRS has been exposed as being responsible for this leak of our confidential information to our political opponents, we believe the IRS may still be hiding information from the American people," Eastman said. "We have called on the Attorney General to grant Matthew Meisel immunity from prosecution so that we can force him to disclose the identity of his conduit . We urge the Congress to explore this issue with the appropriate government officials. It's imperative that all those who have engaged in corrupt practices and illegal acts in the IRS be identified and held accountable."
NOM will also be seeking an additional award of attorney fees to offset some of the cost of bringing the case, but the briefing schedule for that has not yet been set.
Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).