AUGUSTA, Maine — A Washington, D.C.-based organization under investigation for its financial role in the campaign to repeal Maine’s gay marriage law has fired back with a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of a state election law, reports the Bangor Daily News.
The National Organization for Marriage is the largest contributor to the Question 1 ballot initiative, which seeks to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law. As of the end of September, the organization had funneled more than $500,000 to Stand for Marriage Maine, which supports the repeal.
Earlier this month, the Maine Ethics Commission directed staff to determine whether NOM was skirting campaign finance laws in order to avoid disclosing the identities of contributors.
Now, the organization has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bangor alleging that Maine’s financial reporting requirements are unconstitutional.
The lawsuit seeks a court injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing a law that NOM officials claim is being used to harass and intimidate opponents of gay marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage came to prominence last year when it helped overturn a gay marriage law at the ballot box in California. Critics questioned the group’s fundraising techniques.
One of those critics, Fred Karger with the organization Californians Against Hate, filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission earlier this year. Karger alleges that NOM was essentially “money laundering” by soliciting donations from opponents of same-sex marriage for the Maine campaign, all the while promising those donors their identities would remain confidential.
Under the state’s rules governing ballot question committees, which are different from political action committees, anyone who donates more than $100 would have to be identified in campaign finance reports.
Full story at the Bangor Daily News.