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California launches ethics inquiry of NOM and its major donors

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SACRAMENTO, California — The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has verified to Fred Karger that it will investigate the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and seven of its major donors as a result of his 35-page complaint filed late last year. NOM is the largest anti-LGBT organization in the country.

On Oct. 1, 2014, Karger filed his sworn complaint with the FPPC, which investigates violations of the California Political Reform Act and is similar to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The complaint was against NOM head Brian Brown; NOM’s political director, Sacramento-based Frank Schubert; and the campaign committee sponsored by NOM, “Privacy for all Students – Stop AB 1266.”

In the complaint, Karger accused them with violating California election law by not reporting the source of their funds or their expenditures when they attempted to qualify a referendum last year. NOM fell 17,000 signatures short of qualification in its expensive effort to repeal AB 1266, authored by state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

After the compliant was filed, the FPPC went to NOM and the other major backers of the referendum to get their response to the charges. The FPPC investigates less than 5% of all complaints filed.

Under California law, the seven individuals and organizations listed below should have filed Major Donor Reports with the Secretary of State’s office. The largest contributor by far to the failed referendum is also NOM’s biggest donor, New Jersey’s Sean Fieler. All seven are now subject to fines and penalties. These filings were due by Jan. 31, 2014, because these donors contributed $10,000 or more to NOM’s “Privacy for all Students – Repeal AB 1266” referendum qualification.

1. Sean Fieler — the New Jersey hedge fund honcho who is anti-gay gave PFAS at least $200,000. Fieler contributed $80,000 to PFAS on Sept. 25, 2013, $70,000 on Oct. 7, 2013 and $50,000 on Nov. 1. 2013 for a total of $200,000. Fieler did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

2. Peterson Holding Co. — gave $10,000 to PFAS on Oct. 10, 2013. Peterson Holding Co. did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

3. Thomas Bengard — an investor from San Clemente, California gave $10,000 to PFAS on Oct. 18, 2013. Bengard did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

4. Andrew & Rebecca Hagelin — of Placida, Florida gave $25,000 to PFAS on Oct. 24, 2013. The Hagelins did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

5. Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills California — gave $10,000 to PFAS on Sept. 26, 2013 and $10,000 more on Oct. 25, 2013 for a total of $20,000. Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

6. Pacific Justice Institute — this Sacramento, California-based anti-gay legal group, gave $10,000 to PFAS on Sept. 23, 2014. Pacific Justice Institute did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials. [They claimed to SDGLN that they filed, but no record can be found on the SOS website. They submitted a form that appeared legit, and Karger agreed with that assessment in an article written in early October 2014.]

7. Larry Smith — of Newport Beach, California and president of MHI Real Estate gave $10,000 to PFAS on Oct. 7, 2013. Smith did not file a Major Donor Report with California election officials.

Karger filed his first ethic’s complaint against Brian Brown and his NOM back in 2009. That complaint led to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices investigation of NOM and its officers for nearly 5 years. On May 19. 2014, by a unanimous vote, the Commission found NOM guilty of money laundering in the campaign it funded to overturn Maine’s gay marriage law. NOM was fined a record $50,500, but has thus far refused to pay the penalty.

Other successful ethics’ investigations against NOM Karger is responsible for were in: Iowa, Hawaii, California (2012) and the 18 month Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigation of NOM, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats for alleged money laundering leading up to the 2012 Iowa Caucus. The FEC investigation is still pending.

He also got the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) prosecuted, investigated for 18 months, and found guilty on 13 counts of election fraud for all it did and failed to report to qualify and pass California’s Prop 8 in 2008. This led to an unprecedented guilty finding and fine against the Mormon Church for election fraud.

After filing his complaint with the FPPC, Karger also asked the California State Attorney General, the Sacramento County District Attorney and District Attorney-elect to consider criminal charges against NOM and Privacy for All Students (PFAS) if the FPPC went ahead with an investigation. Under California election law, if a committee like the one NOM sponsored to repeal AB 1266 violated state election law with “intent,” it could well be a criminal offense and NOM leaders could face even stiffer penalties.

PrivacyforAllStudentsFPPCComplaint – PDF

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