MAINE ELECTION COMMISSION WANTS ANSWERS FROM ANTI-GAY GROUP
Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices sent a letter to Stand for Marriage Maine PAC Treasurer Joseph Keaney and NOM Executive Director Brian Brown on Aug. 27 that stated it will consider investigating their campaign practices at its Oct. 1 meeting. Wayne invited the organizations to respond to allegations by Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, that NOM is hiding the sources of $250,000 it has thus far contributed to the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign. The commission gave the organizations until Sept. 17 to submit a response.
The commission letter pointed out all PACs are required to report the names and addresses of contributors who have given more than $50 and that "it is illegal for a PAC to knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person."
Karger alleges NOM and three other funders of Stand for Marriage Maine-the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, the national office of the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal organization) and Focus on the Family's Maine Marriage Committee-are "laundering money" to evade disclosure of the actual contributors to the campaign.
"If true, these allegations might constitute violations" of Maine election laws, the commission letter stated.
Wayne wrote the $250,000 in campaign contributions reported thus far "could suggest that NOM solicited and received funds for the purpose of initiating the referendum" even though letters to potential donors last March only discussed radio advertising in Northeast markets promoting heterosexual marriage.
Because Karger's allegations were "less specific," the commission is not asking for responses from the other contributors, but copied them on the letter so they would have the opportunity to comment if they wished.
Critics of NOM's tactics in both Iowa and Maine report letters seeking contributions emphasize the identities of donors would be protected from being targeted "by gay marriage advocates for harassment."