• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • National Organization for Marriage Seeks Investigation of Stolen IRS File

    The National Organization for Marriage is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible for leaking the organization’s confidential U.S. tax return and then illegally publishing it.

    The stolen tax return was first published by the Human Rights Campaign and subsequently the Huffington Post. HRC is led by Joe Solmonese, who also serves as a co-chairman of President Obama’s reelection committee.

    In an April 25 letter to Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s tax division, NOM President Brian Brown and Chairman John C. Eastman request an immediate investigation “to identify the person(s) responsible for these illegal actions.” (View the letter.)

    Brown will provide an update on the brewing scandal at The Bloggers Briefing. Breitbart TV, in partnership with The Heritage Foundation, will air it live today at noon ET.

    NOM’s confidential tax return was first disclosed by the Human Rights Campaign and Huffington Post on March 30 in an attempt to expose the group’s donors. Publication of the material is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up the five years.

    An investigation by NOM revealed the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service rather than a “whistleblower,” as HRC claimed. NOM used a computer program to remove a layer from the file, which attempted to obscure its source. Once that layer was removed, markings used only by the IRS were visible.

    A spokesman for the IRS said the agency was already investigating the matter. “IRS takes this confidentiality of return information very seriously,” spokesman Dean Patterson told The Daily Caller. “Any allegations of improper disclosures of taxpayer information are investigated by the Treasury Inspector General.”

    While that investigation progresses, NOM wants the Department of Justice tax division to also investigate. It has responsibility for all criminal activity involving internal revenue laws.

    The question is whether someone within the IRS deliberately and illegally obtained the tax return or if a breach happened from an external source.

    HRC quietly removed the tax form within a day of NOM’s attorneys contacting the organization. The Huffington Post, however, still has a copy on its website despite NOM’s request to remove it. Neither organization responded to inquiries for comment.

    Under federal law, both HRC and Huffington Post could be punished for their actions. That’s a point NOM emphasized in its letter to the Department of Justice:

    NOM hereby respectfully requests an immediate and thorough investigation into this matter in order to determine (1) whether an officer or employee of the United States is responsible for the unlawful release of NOM’s 2008 Schedule B and should be prosecuted; (2) whether the source of the breach was through violation of the IRS’s electronic data systems; and (3) how HRC, the Huffington Post, and others obtained NOM’s 2008 Schedule B and their role in stealing NOM’s confidential donor information and whether they, or any of them, should be prosecuted for their violation of federal law.

    Brown will share more information on the scandal at today’s Bloggers Briefing. The briefing was founded in May 2006 as a weekly policy discussion for bloggers, online journalists and digital strategists.

    Also on today’s agenda:

    • The Heritage Foundation’s Emily Goff and Romina Boccia will unveil the 2012 edition of Federal Budget in Pictures, which offers a convenient embed code for each of the 46 charts.
    • Brandon Millett, co-founder and president of the GI Film Festival, will preview this year’s event, which runs May 14-20 at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C.
    • Richard Manning from Americans for Limited Government will share an update on the organization’s viral hit, “If I wanted America to fail,” and the next steps for Free Market America.
    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to National Organization for Marriage Seeks Investigation of Stolen IRS File

    1. Bobbie says:

      What happened to America? Where did integrity go? Why is all most everyone destroying America getting away with it? When matters are out of the peoples' control and within the control of outside government EXCEPTIONS HAVE TO STOP! America has to have leadership with integrity and dignity but this leadership is hiding, playing dumb, setting us up and taking no responsibility on everything they do! How dare this administration be so brazen. It's sad America's government has turned against the people in such an obvious manner.

    2. Gary says:

      On the bright side, at least there's no damning information against NOM. Oh, no. They accepted a donation from a candidate, even though he used shady means to do it. Heh. Organizations do worse! (Granted, I hate PACs and they should be outlawed, but that's nothing against NOM.)

    3. Karen M says:

      Rob, It would have been helpful if the story included certain key facts such as what kind of organization NOM is. Why? Because if it's a nonprofit 501(c)(3) or (4), for example, its tax return is public information and organizations are required to provide copies of it to anyone who asks, and in fact they're required to state that they do so on their signed return. Certain portions of the return can be withheld, such as the list of large donors that they have to provide. I've run some nonprofits and our accountants always highlighted those pages in large, red marker lettering {"NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE") so that section of our Form 990 tax return was not released. They obviously had little faith in IRS staff based on their experiences. The only indication I have about what it is comes from Gary's comment, which mentions PACs. Is it a PAC and if so, what does the law require and not require of them regarding disclosure? Also, the IRS IG will be the one to investigate their agency first and then, if there are any clear illegalities, they might refer it out for possible consideration. The IG is certainly a separate office, but if they're like most government investigatory agencies they want pretty good proof before citing anyone. (They would have wanted to catch OJ with the bloody gloves on at the scene, for example, before stating that he "might be" guily.) Getting over the hurdle at DOJ, well, good luck there. Talk about a political agency. I wouldn't trust them at all based on their prior performances on so many issues I don't know where to begin.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×