National Organization for Marriage Sues the IRS for Disclosure of Tax Returns


If the government starts breaking its own laws to give out information from our tax returns for the purpose of allowing a favored group to punish their enemies, we are all in trouble.

In March 2012, the Human Rights Campaign, which is a gay rights organization that supports gay marriage, publish the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax returns.

That, my friends, is clear evidence that somebody somewhere committed a felony. Yet, no one has charges have been brought and if there’s an investigation, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

When the Human Rights Campaign published this list of donors, it laid these people open to harassment and reprisals of all sorts.

As I said earlier, when the government starts violating its own laws for the purpose of allowing a favored group to punish their enemies, we are all in trouble.

From The National Catholic Register:

National Organization for Marriage Sues IRS for Disclosure of Tax Returns (2085)

The lawyer for the organization says the measure is ‘in order to discover who committed these felonies against us and then hopefully get them prosecuted as a deterrent to future abuse by IRS officials.’

WASHINGTON — In March 2012, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading homosexual-rights group, posted the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) confidential 2008 tax returns, including the names of donors.

The disclosure of tax returns without permission is a felony, and NOM quickly cited evidence that allegedly pointed to an Internal Revenue Service official as the likely source of the confidential data.

But a year and a half later, after repeated inquiries elicited no satisfactory response from the IRS, NOM has filed a lawsuit demanding answers and damages.

“Our confidential tax returns were disclosed to the Human Rights Campaign, which posted our confidential list of donors (Schedule B of the tax return) on its website as part of its effort to harass and intimidate our donors into silence,” said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman and law professor at Chapman University School of Law, explaining the group’s decision to file the lawsuit on Oct. 3.

“Computer forensics discovered that the document had originated from within the IRS. Disclosure of a confidential tax return is a serious felony, yet no charges have been brought.”


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  • jenny

    Oh God, how much more do we have to pray for justice and freedom …

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    What a bunch of charmers, a supposed campaign for human rights – whatever they mean by it – who deliberately break the law in order to hound the individual supporters of their opponents. But then we knew them already. As for the IRS, in a state of law and order a few people would go to jail and a few top leaders would discover a sudden need to spend more time with their families. Let us see whether anything like that comes out of this appalling scandal..

  • EMS

    “Computer forensics discovered that the document had originated from within the IRS. Disclosure of a confidential tax return is a serious felony, yet no charges have been brought.”
    Yes, it is a serious felony and heads should roll – if any IRS employee released them. My question is what computer forensics discovered that it came from the IRS? Did they get into the IRS computer systems to find it out? (Which is impossible unless there was hacking.) Do they have copies of a return supposedly originating from the IRS? Disclaimer here: I worked for IRS for 33 years. The IRS deals in real paper returns, not computer copies. Computer copies of returns have limited information on them. If they are contending that the Human Rights campaign has copies of the actual filed returns, then they didn’t get it from any IRS computer. They got it from a human being. And there is a paper trail that would identify any employee who would have had access to the actual returns. If MOM reported the discolosure to the Inspection Division of the IRS, then they are investigating. And sorry, but the investigation results will not be given to MOM until the case becomes public record – that is, someone is actually charged with a crime. Until then, MOM will not be told anything, any more than any other police or official investigation would tell the victims of a crime who they are investigating for the crime. I suspect the lawsuit will be thrown out. BTW, eighteen months to conduct a criminal investigation is not very long. I helped with several criminal cases and it took years for the persons, including employees, responsible to be charged and arrested for the crimes.
    I wonder – did MOM have any of their employees/volunteers investigated? Though, of course, the IRS investigation would cover those people as well, ditto the ones in the Human Rights organization..

  • kenofken

    While tax returns themselves are not supposed to be divulged in toto without proper authorization, most, if not all of the contents of the returns of a lobbying group like NOM is NOT confidential or secret. They are supposed to be disclosed at regular intervals on other publicly available forms. Through its entire history, NOM has ignored/violated/fought those provisions tooth and nail to try to keep a veil of secrecy over who funds them and how that money is used to try to influence politics.

    That’s not legal, or in accordance with what democracy is about. We allow the use of money to influence policy in this country. We do so to an extent that arguably even disadvantages “regular” people whose main resources is one vote. In allowing that massive use of money, we attach one condition. Openness. If people are soliticing and repackaging and spending millions of dollars to influence politics, it’s not unreasonable to demand that the public knows who is backing what, and with how much cash. With everything out on the table, at least everyone can see and judge who’s trying to buy what, and to what degree elected officials are being influenced.

    No democracy can exist in a system where secret money is being shifted around to buy votes. There should be no “confidential list of donors.” If I’m ashamed to put my name to a cause, it’s not something I ought to be backing in other ways, and no society should let me influence politics with sentiments I don’t have the courage of conviction to own.

    • hamiltonr

      You are confusing campaign donations with donations to private 501c3s. You are also confusing felonious behavior with lawful behavior and suggesting that we allow felons to break the law in order to coerce and intimidate those who abide by the law.

      In addition, whether or not people are “ashamed” of how they donate their money, or fear retribution and bullying, or simply want privacy because they are private people, is not the question here. The felonious behavior of someone who is not being punished and the use of this felonious behavior to intimidate and coerce people who are simply using their free rights as citizens to associate with like-minded citizens and support legal causes that they care about. I would also add that the government’s illegal mis-use of it its powers in this situation are chilling and should be for anyone with half a brain.

      • EMS

        “I would also add that the government’s illegal mis-use of it its powers in this situation are chilling and should be for anyone with half a brain”.

        Rebecca, I agree with you pretty much all the time (I’m tempted to move to Oklahoma just to have someone to vote for!), but I think you’re mistaken in this. It has NOT yet been proved that any government official or IRS employee gave the returns to the Human Rights Organization (a misnomer if there ever was one). NOM made the accusation; it is being investigated. Until the investigation is completed and an IRS employee/official has been charged, neither you nor anyone else knows if there has been any “illegal misuse” of powers.

        • hamiltonr

          You may be right. I honestly hadn’t considered someone from NOM giving the tax returns to the HRC. I still see that as very unlikely. But I would far rather that was true than that the IRS did this and the government is covering it up.

          • FW Ken

            There’s no particular reason industrial espionage, in this case motivated by ideology rather than profits, might not be in play.

    • jenny

      1) “No democracy can exist in a system where secret money is being shifted to buy votes…”
      If we talk about democracy, doesn’t it apply to all of us ?

      2) “:… They are supposed to be disclosed..”
      Do we see such disclosure from organizations that support abortion, gun proliferation, a jobless youth trend, proliferation of violent movies, attacks on Christianity home and at abroad, increase poverty , unproved accusation of our farmers, chemical-grown food, etc.? Not much.

      3) “…of a lobbying group like NOM…”
      NOM should be the norm in our society, not a “lobby”.
      We should stay with our ancestors here, shouldn’t we?

      • kenofken

        Groups that are incorporated as 501c4 groups, as NOM was, and is, are required to make certain public disclosures about fundraising and spending in IRS filings. That applies and should apply to NOM as it does any other group with the same legal standing. NOM IS a lobbying group, or rather, a special interest group. It does not enjoy a special presumption of self-evidence because we are a democracy, not a society like North Korea in which one consensus is the official position for all. They get a voice, everyone else gets a voice. Everyone gets one vote. The court system has its oversight role.

        There are a few legal dimensions to this. One, the IRS should not be breaking any laws and the investigation should lead where it will. Two, I’ve seen conflicting information on what donor information groups can withhold from public release. Three, states also have their own campaign and election laws, and NOM fought unsuccessfully in at least two of them to maintain donor secrecy.

        Non-profit and tax law and campaign finance all have their complexities, but the Supreme Court has utterly rejected the concept of anonymous political action in Doe v. Reed, in which a NOM affiliate tried to keep a ballot initiative petition list secret.

        “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which…campaigns anonymously…and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”

        That was not the ravings of some liberal. It was Justice Scalia.