The IRS has agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for unlawfully releasing its private information to a gay rights group that is a political rival, the Daily Signal has learned.
NOM expressed relief at the settlement agreement.
"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 2012, the Human Rights Campaign posted on its website private information from the National Organization for Marriage that revealed private information including the identities and contact information for its donors. Then information was then published by multiple media outlets, according to the Daily Signal.
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.