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NOM Claims IRS Leaked Tax Info, Romney $10k Donator

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Apr 23, 2012
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An anti-gay marriage group that is bent on banning marriage equality in the U.S. is accusing the IRS of leaking tax documents that showed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a contributor, Fox News reported.

The National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) tax files were published by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay rights group that is closely connected to the Obama campaign, the article points out. The HRC first published the files but then took them down.

But NOM is furious about the leak and is demanding that there be an investigation into the IRS. They also sent out a "warning letter" to the HRC and says that someone in the IRS gave the HRC the documents, which listed its 2008 contributors -- one of them being Romney’s action committee, which made a $10,000 donation.

Last month the HRC said that it discovered NOM’s "top secret donors" and said Romney was "essentially funding NOM’s strategy of using racial division and unfounded scare tactics to attack LGBT equality." The group also discovered documents that outline NOM’s multi-year plan to stop same-sex marriage in the country, which included strategies "to drive a wedge between gays and blacks."

Fox points out that Romney’s donation was made around the same time NOM and other anti-gay marriage organizations were trying to take down Proposition 8.

Romney has upset some of his biggest donors due to his views on gay marriage. Three of his supporters (hedge fund managers) have all supported gay marriage and the cause to legalize marriage equality in New York last year. But when NOM endorsed Romney hours after Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, the major contributors became anxious. Even the HRC criticized the endorsement and says that if Romney is aligning himself with the anti-gay marriage group "it shows how far out of step Romney actually is - not only is he opposed to the majority of Americans, now it appears he is opposed to part of his base."

"This is not something you’d expect to happen in the U.S.," NOM’s president Brain Brown told FoxNews.com about the leaked information. He also told the site the names of dozens of other donors who were on the leaked document. "The issue is this is a private tax document."

Brown claimed that NOM analyzed the leaked documents and the original version had an "official use," which indicated they were internal documents. Brown went on to say that this means that someone in the IRS leaked them or the IRS was hacked.

"This is a potential criminal investigation," he said. He added that the IRS is "taking this seriously."

"IRS takes this confidentiality of return information very seriously. Any allegations of improper disclosures of taxpayer information are investigated by the Treasury Inspector General," IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said in a statement.

But the HRC says NOM’s allegations are not true and the organization is trying to intimidate them.

"NOM’s charges of illegal conduct by HRC are absolutely false," HRC said in a statement.

"In the past few weeks HRC lawfully obtained and disseminated truthful information about NOM’s racial-wedge strategy and secret donors. Noticeably absent from NOM’s allegations is any awareness of First Amendment freedoms. Embarrassed that its true agenda is out in the open, NOM has launched a crusade to intimidate and suppress those who are revealing its anti-LGBT mission. HRC has no intention of helping NOM to suppress the truth."

The article pointed out that Romney’s donation information was available elsewhere before the HRC posted the documents and Brown says NOM was never trying to "hide" the information. Brown also said that contributions of $5,000 or more are meant to be private.

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