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NOM Pleading For Donations Following Report About Financial Records

December 14, 2011 3:33 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Brian Brown

On Monday, The Washington Independent released copies of the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) 2010 IRS 990 forms, revealing that the majority of the organization’s funding for the year had come from just a handful of donors and noting a number of suspicious problems with NOM’s financial records.

The next day, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) began raising questions of its own, pointing out that NOM appeared to be $1.2 million in debt at the end of 2010.

NOM has yet to respond to questions about its 2010 IRS forms, but there’s evidence that the organization may indeed be facing financial problems. In a December 13 fundraising alert, NOM president Brian Brown warned that NOM might have to cut back its 2012 efforts in the face of a “looming shortfall”:

Please help us overcome a looming shortfall!

Increasingly virulent and frequent attacks from the same-sex marriage lobby have depleted our emergency funds, and we need your help! [...]

[U]nless we raise additional funds quickly, we will be faced with hard decisions about where to begin scaling back our efforts for next year. NOM does not have the resources to accomplish everything we need to do. [...]

We have a plan to fight them at every turn, but without a significant year-end infusion of support, we may have no choice but to scale back our election year programs. [emphasis original]

Last month, Brown sent a similar message to supporters, stating that he was “beginning to worry” about NOM’s lack of financial resources.

It’s unclear if Brown – whose salary topped $200 thousand in 2010 – is actually telling the truth about NOM’s financial situation. He’s already shown a willingness to lie to his supporters in order to bring in donations, so it’s possible that Brown’s cry for help is little more than a NOM fundraising ploy. HRC’s Kevin Nix called Brown’s plea “deceptive,” writing:

Obviously, NOM isn’t going to abandon any of these [programs], even if they get just $1 from their fundraising efforts. They don’t have to worry about fundraising given the Fat Cat 5 magic donors who fund the organization. Please, lose the pretense. 

Setting aside Brown’s plea for help, one thing is clear: with only 8 percent of its 2010 revenue coming from small donors, NOM could seriously benefit from expanding its base of supporters. NOM likes to portray itself as a populist response to “pro-gay marriage millionaires,” but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the organization is little more than a front group for a handful of wealthy anti-gay donors.


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