IRS to pay NOM $50,000 for illegal release of their tax return
The IRS has settled a lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Marriage, who took legal action against the agency when one of the agency's employees leaked the group's tax return to a pro-gay marriage organization.
A consent decree orders the IRS to pay NOM $50,000. Meanwhile, the Justice Department refuses to initiate an investigation into which IRS employee illegally leaked the information to a gay activist in Boston.
The Heritage Foundation's blog The Daily Signal:
The Daily Signal has learned that, under a consent judgment today, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a result of the unlawful release of the confidential information to a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, that is NOM’s chief political rival.
“Congress made the disclosure of confidential tax return information a serious matter for a reason,” NOM Chairman John D. Eastman told The Daily Signal. “We’re delighted that the IRS has now been held accountable for the illegal disclosure of our list of major donors from our tax return.”
In February 2012, the Human Rights Campaign posted on its web site NOM’s 2008 tax return and the names and contact information of the marriage group’s major donors, including soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. That information then was published by the Huffington Post and other liberal-leaning news sites.
HRC’s president at the time, Joe Solmonese, was tapped that same month as a national co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Eastman said an investigation in the civil lawsuit determined that someone gave NOM’s tax return and list of major donors to Boston-based gay rights activist Matthew Meisel. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague of “a conduit” to obtain the marriage group’s confidential information.
Testifying under oath in a deposition as part of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Meisel invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and declined to disclose the identity of his “conduit.”
To get at that fact, Eastman said, the National Organization for Marriage has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to grant immunity from prosecution to Meisel.
The $50,000 to be paid by the IRS represents actual damages NOM incurred responding to the illegal disclosure, not punitive damages, since the marriage group was unable to prove disclosure of the confidential records was deliberate after Meisel took the Fifth.
Meisel provided the marriage group’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign, documents found as part of the investigation show. HRC is among organizations and activists advocating same-sex marriage that routinely describe NOM as a “hate group” or “anti-gay” for making the case for preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Once again, Eric Holder is picking and choosing which laws to enforce and which to ignore:
In May 2012, Eastman and NOM President Brian Brown asked the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the case. Eastman appeared last June before the House Committee on Ways and Means to testify about the illegal disclosure o the marriage group’s donors.
Unauthorized disclosure of confidential tax information is a felony offense that can result in five years in prison, but the Department of Justice did not bring criminal charges.
The IRS could find out who leaked the tax return easily enough. But when no criminal investigation is underway why should they bother? Now the lawsuit is settled and they have no pressure on them to look into the matter.
So the gay activist who conspired with an IRS employee to deliberately try and damage the reputation of a non-profit group refuses to divulge the name of his co-conspirator and the donors to NOM are open to alll kinds of personal and professional pressure to toe the pro-gay marriage line or suffer the consequences.
Just another day in Obama's America.