It’s really no surprise that we’re being outspent. Money doesn’t speak on this issue. The voices of the majority of Minnesotans are going to be heard much more loudly at the polls.
Autumn Leva, spokesperson, Minnesota for Marriage
Source: Star Tribune
Leva responds to the fact that Minnesotans United for All Families has continued to outraise amendment supporters more than 4-to-1.
Minnesotans United for All Families spokesperson, Kate Brickman, confirms that money alone won’t win this election:
Raising money alone is not going to win us the campaign. Our fundraising has been a way to get engaged in the campaign.
The Star Tribune article breaks down donations on both sides:
More than 70 percent of Minnesota for Marriage’s funds come from two organizations. The Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund donated $600,000 and the Minnesota Family Council Marriage Protection Fund gave $250,000.
Minnesotans United has drawn its contributions from more than 44,000 donors, with about 90 percent coming from within the state. The group’s latest fundraising report does not include more than $350,000 the group raised over the weekend at hundreds of house party fundraisers.
Groups supporting same sex marriage bans have been outspent in most of the 30 states where the issue reached the ballot, but have yet to lose an election.
Let’s prove Leva and amendment supporters wrong: No matter how you spin it, or how much you spend, Minnesotans stand up for equality and just say NO.
In case you missed it last week, same-sex marriage opponents announced a significant influx of dollars to their campaign to the tune of 2 million dollars. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sent out an email about a donation match offer from an “anonymous donor” (of course the donor is anonymous;NOM never seems to have to disclose where their money comes from). For every dollar donated to NOM, the anonymous donor will add two more dollars to match. The total haul? 3 million dollars to ensuring same-sex couples are treated unequally by the law.
Here are some excerpts from the e-mail NOM sent out to their supporters:
What would you do to raise $3 million to protect marriage from Barack Obama and his wealthy homosexual lobbyists?
A couple paragraphs later, they take another stab at Obama, call out their success in passing Prop 8 in California and let supporters know they’re working hard in Minnesota:
The National Organization for Marriage is the most effective pro-marriage organization in America fighting Obama’s attempts to re-define marriage. NOM also led the fight to defend every successful pro-marriage campaign since Prop. 8 in California, and we’ve been on the front lines in Minnesota, North Carolina, Iowa, Maryland, and states across the nation.
As always, NOM continues to deceive claiming that same-sex equality is supported by “billionaire gay marriage activists:”
This new $2 million matching grant challenge will help us compete even more effectively with Obama’s billionaire gay marriage activists and wealthy Hollywood celebrities who are determined to impose homosexual marriage as the law of the land.
The reality is that Minnesotans United for All Families raised $2.56 million dollars between July 24 and September 18. That money came from over25,000 individual donors! And 98% of those donors were from Minnesota! (source) But facts don’t seem to matter to the other side. Anything they can do to rally their troops, even if it means telling outright lies, they’ll do it.
I’m so tired of this outside organization pouring dollars into this state in an attempt to influence Minnesotans. It would be one thing if they were at least honest in their attempts, but again and again, they mislead voters and refuse to play by the same rules as everyone else. It’s time we call them on their shenanigans.
Here’s my simple message to NOM: Get out of my state. Take your lies and dollars elsewhere. Let real Minnesotans have this conversation with each other.
To help counter NOM’s fundraising, please consider making a small donation to Minnesotans United for All Families through my personal fundraising page.
We are confident that as we continue our final outreach effort, the voices of the majority of Minnesotans will speak louder at the polls than the amount of money wasted in a futile attempt to convince people that men and women are interchangeable, and the Marriage Amendment will pass on November 6th.
John Helmberger, Chairman, Minnesota for Marriage
Helmberger is quoted in an article about fundraising efforts by Minnesota for Marriage, the group that supports the mean-spirited amendment.
Minnesota for Marriage has raised nearly $1.2 million dollars so far in 2012, compared to $5.96 million raised by Minnesotans United for All Families. Helmberger had this to say about the fundraising disparity:
We’ve never been surprised by the amount of money wealthy same-sex ‘marriage’ activists are willing to pour into their attempt to change the minds of Minnesotans on the definition of marriage. In fact, we predicted over a year ago that we would be outspent 3 or 4 to 1.
Interesting that he chose to call out the “amount of money wasted” considering his side put this thing on the ballot in the first place! Oh the irony.
In March, I posted about a complaint filed against amendment supporters for “hiding” their donors. Last month, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board dismissed the complaint due to the fact that the Minnesota Family Council “did not technically break any disclosure rules by failing to disclose the names of several of its donors.”
But, wait. Isn’t that why we have disclosure rules, so that the public is aware of who is donating to these types of campaigns? Well, it turns out that because the Minnesota Family Council’s purpose is more than just passing this mean-spirited amendment, they don’t technically count as a Political Action Committee, and as a result, do not need to disclose their donors.
The definition of political committee is based on the purpose of the association; that is, the reason the association exists. Applying this definition, the purpose of an association is more synonymous with its mission than with some particular end result that it might achieve toward that broader mission. MFC’s mission is well-stated by Mr. Prichard in his affidavit quoted above. MFC’s activities have been consistent with that mission. During its existence, MFC has undertaken a variety of activities, including its current intensive efforts to ensure passage of the marriage definition ballot question. The Board concludes that MFC’s 2011 and 2012 efforts to pass the ballot question are in furtherance of its purpose but do not narrow that purpose from its more broadly stated mission. Thus, MFC has not become a political committee as a result of these activities.
This is both frustrating and sad. The board’s ruling clears the path of funneling money into these types of organizations to avoid disclosure rules that have been established to bring more visibility into the organizations and people influencing our elections.
About a month ago, I posted about questions that surfaced around donations from pro-amendment backers. There were several claims that false reports were filed and that actual donors’ names were not disclosed which violates the law. Minnesota for Marriage listed only seven donors, which accounted for a little over $2,000 of the $830,000 they raised last year.
Minnesota Family Council CEO and Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, John Helmberger, responded:
Let me state emphatically: even though new campaign finance regulations exceed the requirements of the law and violate our Constitutional rights, I have followed them to a “T.”
Interesting how Helmberger is so concerned about his own constitutional rights… Here’s hoping investigators find out the truth; if people are going to donate to this mean-spirited amendment, the public deserves to know who they are.
Note: Here’s another take on this story from Think Progress.
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released 2011 funding and it turns out there wasn’t a single individual that contributed to this cause. In fact, in 2011 as a whole, Minnesota for Marriage raised nearly a million dollars, yet only $2,000 of that money came from individual donors (source).
Something smells a little fishy here. The HRC has accused NOM and others of hiding the true source of funds in order to bypass the laws. This isn’t the first time this group has done this; they just lost an appeal in Maine where the organization was attempting to conceal it’s donor list (source).
Here’s hoping that this accusation from the HRC will actually lead to some repercussions for this group instead of yet another slap on the wrist.
Campaign finance officials announced that those who give money to support or oppose ballot questions (like the marriage amendment) must disclose their donations. However, it sounds like the fight may not be over.
Turns out that the National Organization for Marriage has worked hard in other states to ensure donors’ names are protected. In fact, they’ve brought lawsuits forward to ensure that those who give money to support hate are protected.
Other political donations must be disclosed, so why not on something as important as amending our state’s constitution. Here’s hoping current disclosure rules stay in place.