Seattle lawyers issue complaint against anti-marriage equality groups
A Seattle law firm has filed a complaint against two anti-marriage equality groups for not declaring the source of their funding.
The firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, made the complaint that Preserve Marriage Washington and the National Organization of Marriage had violated state law by not disclosing the source of their money and how they spend in their campaigns to repeal the Pacific Northwest state’s marriage equality law.
According to Jerry Cornfield in the Heraldnet, the complaint, which is 188 pages in length, claims the National Organization of Marriage need to register as an out-of-state political committee and say where the money is coming from that’s enabling them to oppose Referendum 74 on the November ballot.
Mr Cornfield wrote that the complaint also alleges the group is violating campaign spending rules by not listing expenses for the services of several people, including high-priced strategist Frank Schubert.
The complaint also alleges that Preserve Marriage Washington has ignored state law by not declaring expenditures for key campaign staff, including manager Joseph Backholm, who also is executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.
Mr Cornfield said he had contacted Mr Backholm for a reaction.
The complaint concludes: “Washington State has one of the strongest histories of openness and transparency in politics of any state in the country. I urge the PDC to hold Preserve Marriage Washington accountable for flouting that tradition and failing to be honest with the citizenry.”
Washington United for Marriage, a state group who are pro-marriage equality, denied involvement with the complaint.
Speaking to Heraldnet, Washington United for Marriage spokesman Andy Grow said: “We had nothing to do with this, but it’s not surprising. NOM has a history of ignoring state finance reporting laws and is still tied up in litigation challenging Maine’s disclosure requirements going back to that 2009 marriage battle.
“At a minimum, it would certainly serve all voters if the Public Disclosure Commission makes sure everyone is playing by the rules, including NOM and Preserve Marriage Washington.”
This is not the first time NOM have come under scrutiny – they were investigated for fraud in 2009.