Archive for the ‘News Coverage’ Category

News Coverage: Magistrate Judge says NOM Should Turn Over Donors’ Names

Monday, May 31st, 2010

From The Maine Public Broadcasting Network:

Magistrate Judge says NOM Should
Turn Over Donors’ Names

A federal magistrate judge has ordered the national group that provided most of the funding to repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law to turn over information about its donors. The magistrate rejected claims by the National Organization for Marriage that the donor names aren’t relevant to the issue before the court, and that releasing them would have a chilling effect on the group’s future fundraising efforts.

(Listen to the audio at the link)

The National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, contributed $1.9 million dollars to last year’s successful campaign to overturn Maine’s gay marriage law. But NOM has refused to comply with demands from state elections’ officials to hand over the names of donors, as required by Maine law.

While challening the Ethics Commission’s case, NOM has issued its own challenge in federal court, claiming Maine’s elections law is uncontitutional. In a preliminary ruling on evidence in that case filed on Sunday, federal Magistrate John H. Rich III ordered NOM to provide the Maine Attorney General’s office with donor information dating back to January 1st of last year.

“And we’re pleased with the federal magistrate’s preliminary decision that as a part of this litigation, NOM must share information about their donors with the Office of the Attorney General,” says AG spokeswoman Kate Simmons.

Simmons says the magistrate rejected NOM’s claim that releasing the names would have a chilling effect upon future fundraising efforts, in large part because of the court’s requirement that the information be kept confidential. “The information about their donors would only be disclosed to this office, and would not be a public document nor able to be shared with the public at large.”

NOM has claimed that the donor information might be used by the Ethics Commission in its case against the group. Simmons says it’s true that the information could be viewed by the Commission, but the magistrate has ruled that it may not be used against NOM in other legal challenges.

That issue, and others are now under appeal in federal court. While the appeals continue to fly, critics of NOM see the latest ruling as a victory.

“This decision is in keeping with every other decision that we’ve seen, in that they are just crying wolf,” says Fred Karger, founder of the group Californians Against Hate, which has been actively challenging NOM’s refusal to disclose the names of its donors. Karger alleges that they are, largely, members of the Mormon Church.

Karger says he applauds the ruling in Maine as another step in forcing NOM to open its books. “The National Organization for Marriage has spent the last three years trying to avoid that; they’ve conducted their business in secrecy,” Karger says. “They’re under investigation now in two states, and possibly a third, for this very action, and so I just commend the judge magistrate for trying to get to the bottom of their financing, which is one of the great mysteries of the world.”

Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne declined comment on the magistrate’s ruling. A spokesman for NOM could not be reached for comment by airtime.

Mother Jones: Game Changer

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Mother Jones cover and inside spread

He was one of the GOP's top dark-arts operators. Now he

Who’s that masked man gracing the pages of Mother Jones? It’s the founder of Californians Against Hate, Fred Karger. Check out the table of contents, read the article online, or grab a copy at your local newsstand.

News Coverage: Gay group targets Romney

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The banner ad ran online at the New Hampshire Union-Leader, the Boston Globe and the Salt Lake Tribune websites

From Ben Smith’s Politico column – January 20, 2010:

Gay group targets Romney

My colleague Ken Vogel reports that a California political operative whose hardball opposition to California’s 2008 anti-same-sex-marriage initiative generated controversy has set his sights on Mitt Romney:

Fred Karger, a prominent gay rights activist, later this week will launch a campaign urging Romney to lobby the Mormon Church to back down from its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Romney’s Mormonism hurt him during his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the GOP presidential nomination. And Karger’s campaign nods toward Romney’s 2012 presidential ambitions. Not only is it debuting roughly two years before New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, but it will launch with an ad on the websites of the New Hampshire Union-Leader, the Boston Globe and The Salt Lake Tribune.

The ad will link to the website of a new group called Rights Equal Rights, which is funded in part by Californians Against Hate, a leading opponent of the anti-same-sex ballot initiative. The website asserts that “as a national political leader and influential member of the Mormon Church, Mitt Romney could persuade church leaders to end their 15 years of active involvement, including their massive financial support, to oppose equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.”

Kim Farrah, a spokeswoman for the Mormon Church, pointed out that the church itself “did not spend tens of millions of dollars in campaigns to ban gay marriages” — as Rights Equal Rights’ website claims — but also defended the church’s ability “to speak out on moral issues as part of the Democratic process.”

Though Romney holds no official role within the church beyond being a member, its leaders and membership strongly backed his 2008 presidential campaign and can be expected to align behind him if he runs again in 2012.

While reminders of Romney’s Mormonism won’t help him with the broader GOP electorate, reminders of his opposition to same-sex marriage might buoy his standing with social conservatives. In 2008, they held against him a pledge he made (http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0807/Romneys_tonal_shift.html) during a 1994 Senate race to be a stronger advocate for gay rights than his opponent, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), a champion of the gay community.

A Romney spokesman declined to comment on Karger’s effort, though during the presidential campaign, his aides asserted that his stances never shifted on gay issues. They pointed out that he had long been on record opposed to same-sex marriage, as well as discrimination against gays.

But Karger charged Romney had “flip-flopped. The new Mitt Romney would be a disaster for the gay community as president.”

Still, Karger asserted the target of his campaign is not Romney but, rather, the Mormon Church, which supported the California initiative.

Posted by Ben Smith 02:34 PM