On Wednesday, March 12, Fred Karger—the former gay Republican presidential nominee who took on the Mormon Church during Prop. 8—will be deposed by the U.S. Department of Justice and by two attorneys from the National Organization for Marriage. The deposition is a result of a federal lawsuit brought by NOM against the IRS in National Organization for Marriage v. United States of America, et al. In its lawsuit, NOM singled out Karger because of the ethics complaint he filed against the anti-gay organization with the California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. (Photo below shows NOM President Brian Brown testifying at a hearing in Maine.)
NOM claims it has “irrefutable proof” someone from the IRS illegally leaked its confidential 2008 tax returns to the Human Rights Campaign with the list of their donors names—including Mitt Romney—unredacted. Acting IRS Commissioner Miller told a congressional hearing last May that an internal investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was conducted and “found that those disclosures were inadvertent and there’s been discipline in one of those cases for somebody not following procedures.”
For Republican conservatives, the issue is not only about disclosure of donors—something required by many state campaign finance laws—but rather a government agency being used as a politcial weapon by "targeting" conservative groups for special scrutiny. A New York Times investigation, however, found that the IRS reviewed applications for tax-exempt status from liberal as well as conservative groups.
In filing his ethics complaints, Karger has been caught up in the larger issue, which NOM is using to its advantage. Karger writes:
During the past month I have had to produce 4 lbs. of documents, emails, texts, press coverage, notes and other records and send them to the Justice Department—all because NOM is out to destroy me.
Why? I am responsible for getting the National Organization for Marriage investigated in Maine, Iowa, Hawaii and California for possible election fraud or money laundering. Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californians Against Hate) has had more success taking on NOM than any other national organization.
It was my sworn complaint last summer that led to the ongoing investigation of NOM by the Federal Election Commission. In it I accused NOM of pay-to-play politics for its alleged $1 million scheme to help Rick Santorum in Iowa back when he was running for President.
These state and federal investigations have cost NOM millions of dollars. Now NOM head Brian Brown and his lawyers want to put me out of business.
Karger will be deposed on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the U. S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles. It is not known if NOM President Brian Brown will put in an appearance. But his lawyers will be there. Last year, Karger also asked the Justice Department and the State Department to investigate whether Brown violated the Logan Act by meeting with members of the Russian Duma before that body voted in favor of the harsh anti-gay “propoganda” law.
Karger is paying for his defense against NOM out of his own pocket and has set up a defene fund:
Today I am writing with an appeal. The subpoena and next week's deposition are costing a lot of money. I have been working with two excellent law firms and the legal bills are mounting. I am a one- person operation and I need your help.
Some friends and I have set up a Legal Fund called “Five for Fred” to help pay all the bills. Please contribute $5.00 or more to Rights Equal Rights today.
I will never give up going after Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher and NOM for all their illegal activities and bullying. NOM should never be given a free ride to spend its millions and millions of dollars every year to hurt LGBT young people and destroy lives.
Here’s a video from October 2009, when NOM and Frank Schubert exported their Prop. 8 strategy to Maine. Karger filed a complaint with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to investigate Stand For Marriage Maine PAC for violations of state campaign finance laws by the PAC’s largest donor, NOM. The commission voted 3-2 in favor of proceeding with an investigation.