In a glass houses moment, National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown chucked stones at the gays last week after the Minnesota House passed the bipartisan marriage equality bill. Mr. Brown wrote:
The recent actions in Minnesota should serve as a wakeup call to other states that have not yet passed Marriage Protection Amendments: if you do not protect marriage proactively in your constitution, the powerful and wealthy gay marriage lobby will target your state for their next campaign to change your laws. [emphasis added]
What a curious comment, coming as it does from the “Half-Million Dollar Man“.
NOM’s IRS 990 tax forms for 2011, the most recent available, show that Brian Brown was paid $230,000 in salary plus almost $24,000 in benefits from National Organization for Marriage Inc, plus another $230,000 in salary and another $24,000 in benefits from National Organization for Marriage Education Fund.
Added together, NOM paid Brian Brown $508,000 in salary and benefits in 2011. Mr. Brown pointing fingers at a “wealthy gay marriage lobby” is like the pot calling the kettle black.
Even more curious, however, is Mr. Brown drawing attention to campaign finance in the first place. Besides reminding Minnesotans that NOM wanted to bypass Minnesota’s campaign donor disclosure laws, it also reminds Minnesotans that NOM had almost no grassroots support for its 2012 campaign to pass a constitutional amendment that would have barred same-sex couples from marrying. After Minnesota voters rejected NOM’s anti-gay amendment last year, MinnPost reported a summary of how the campaign had been financed:
Minnesota for Marriage, the group pushing for the amendment, has raised about $5 million, the lion’s share from the Catholic Church, the Minnesota Family Council and its sister group, the National Organization for Marriage.
Minnesotans United for All Families, the vote-no coalition, raised twice as much, most of it from 62,000 individual donors. It also reported seven-figure contributions from national organizations as well as $1.2 million in in-kind contributions.
While pro-equality Minnesotans United for All Families enjoyed the support of 62,000 individual donors, the anti-gay Minnesota for Marriage relied heavily on money from NOM, which in turn is supported by just a handful of wealthy donors. From NOM Exposed:
Our analysis of NOM’s 2010 Form 990, filed with the Internal Revenue Service in November 2011 and obtained by the American Independent, confirmed that the top five donors to NOM accounted for almost 90 percent of its funding. We can only conclude that NOM’s claim to being a grassroots organization representing thousands is phony. Tax returns don’t lie.
It is puzzling why Brian Brown would be drawing attention to personal wealth and campaign finance, because it is beneficial to the pro-equality cause for him to do so.