IRS Admits Guilt in Illegal Release of Conservative Group’s Tax Information


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, theDaily 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 (supports redefinition of marriage/gay rights group) 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.

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.


Of course, the IRS doesn’t pay the fine. The taxpayer does.:frowning:


The title is misleading. The IRS did not admit any wrongdoing; its just a non-punitive settlement. The whole incident exposed the fact that NOM and Romney’s PAC were omitting his donations from their election commission filings. The source is a whistleblower.


Maybe we should audit the IRS.

Only $50,000?


That much might actually be true. They just settled and plead the 5th. :rolleyes:*The Internal Revenue Service has agreed to pay the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) $50,000 as part of a settlement of NOM’s suit against the IRS for the unauthorized release of NOM’s tax return.

NOM is a prominent opponent of same-sex marriage. In 2012 the Human Rights Campaign, a group that supports same-sex marriage, posted a copy of NOM’s 2008 Form 990, including portions of the form that list donor information and are not subject to public disclosure. HRC received the documents from an individual who apparently obtained them from a someone within the IRS, but who invoked the Fifth Amendment rather than disclose his source.*Full story here. So, so fun…


The $50,000 the IRS has agreed to pay represents actual damages NOM incurred to fight the leak of its donor list in court, not punitive damages. NOM was unable to prove that the disclosure of the private donor list was intentional because Boston-based gay rights activist Matthew Meisel invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify
The lawsuit turned up emails from Meisel that said he had a “conduit” who obtained NOM’s donor list.
NOM Chairman John Eastman said the IRS at first argued that it had done nothing wrong and said NOM must have released the information itself, adding that the $50,000 payment shows that the IRS admitted to illegally leaking the donor list.


Also from the article:
“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.”

Of course not. The Justice Department is too busy not pursuing all the other scandals in this administration.:rolleyes:


I still don’t get what all the fuss is about. I think all organizations should be automatically required to post a list of donor names. I’m tired of shadow donating. It seems extremely shady to me that an organization would be angered by the release of its donors.


Really? Should my parish release a list of all the members who donated each year so we can embarrass those who did not give enough? Should we be able to identify all the people who gave their personal money to organizations we don’t like?

Next the secret ballot needs to go. How dare you keep any of your opinions private? We could post your ballot on Facebook.


Wasn’t this law suit filed about the same time Sen. Harry Reid claimed to have had detailed info. (confidential) re: Mitt Romney’s tax records?

The IRS under Obama has become a weapon.


I meant political organizations, sorry.


Nonsense. Of course, missing from all of the coverage and comments so far is what the Judge had to say and what the facts of the case actually were:

  1. “NOM has offered no evidence that its unredacted tax information was willfully disclosed. The record provides a specific timeline evidencing that NOM’s Schedule B was released inadvertently as part of a single employee’s mistake.”

  2. “The email evidence, deposition testimony, watermark, and entries from SEIN and IDRS compel the conclusion that Peters accidentally forwarded an unredacted copy of NOM’s 2008 Schedule B in response to Meisel’s request. (See Gov’t’s Mem. at 7-9.) NOM has produced no evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude otherwise, and therefore its unsubstantiated assertion that another source could have intentionally released the Schedule B falls flat.”

  3. “NOM’s argument that the disclosure was intentional because the Schedule B was given to a ‘known political activist’ and ‘altered to obscure its internal IRS markings’ is similarly unfounded. The evidence is unrefuted that Peters did not know Meisel or have any connection to the HRC when she disclosed the information. Furthermore, NOM has failed to produce a shred of proof that anyone at the IRS altered or obscured the watermark. In short, NOM’s allegations of willfulness are unsupported by any evidence…”

  4. “This argument is unpersuasive. No reasonable jury could find in NOM’s favor based solely on this negative inference when the remaining evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Peters inspected the return while performing her official IRS duties. To find that NOM could prevail from this scintilla of evidence would require ‘the building of one inference upon another,’ which is not appropriate…”



I don’t think I would give any money to a group I would be ashamed to be associated with, to the point that I wouldn’t want to show up on a donor’s list.


IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is in the spotlight as he is set to further testify to Congress regarding the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It is important to remember that Koskinen has shelled out nearly $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups.

Koskinen has been contributing to Democrats for four decades, starting with a $1000 contribution to Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate candidate Gary Hart in 1979


None of this demonstrates that what I said was nonsense. And I have read much of that already - so it’s not missing in the coverage. What difference does it make if it was “one employee.” All they are clinging to is that no one can “prove” the intentionality of offending parties. All they can say is that they are “compelled” to say it was accidental. But at the end of the day, the committed a violation of potentially felony proportions. Given the recent pattern of scrutiny applied to particular groups by the IRS in recent years, it is silly to wave this off as nonsense or some unfounded conspiracy.


Absolutely not. We have already seen the ridiculous attacks on those who gave money to groups supporting Natural Marriage. Ask Brendan Eich for example. How many unauthorized disclosures by the IRS have resulted in harassment, persecution, and huge expenses already?

To disclose this would have a chilling effect on free speech and the political process. I think we should be able to support candidates, ballot measures or organizations without fearing the fury of certain “interest groups” who come at the opposition with unbelievable fury.

There was a time I agreed with you but seeing what has happened to innocent Americans who simply wanted to support a candidate or cause has completely changed my mind. Having filled out such reports, the information IS disclosed to those who have a need to know but should not be disclosed to the public without some compelling public interest.



The “scrutiny applied to particular groups” was also applied to liberal groups. Just admit that the right is upset that the IRS would have the audacity to apply the law to conservative groups at all. There is no justification for groups like NOM to apply for charitable organization status… none… they are a political group, not a charity.


A canard that was debunked early on. A few “progressive” groups were initially targeted and as it turned out because their names had words associated with Conservative or Pro Israel or Christian groups. Further once “targeted” once they were identified as being within the pro Obama, progressive sphere, they were pushed through the process and given exempt status.

In contrast the conservative groups were delayed, inundated with multiple requests for completely UNNECESSARY and inappropriate questions (what are you reading? how do you pray?) and their exempt status was delayed for years…or safely beyond the election of Obama.

As a CPA I have applied for and obtained 501c3 and 501c4 and 501c5 status for various organizations. One of them was somewhat political but it was “good” political as it was focused on environmental issues. All of them sailed through the process without so much as an additional inquiry. What these organizations went through, what their organizing members were put through is truly outrageous.

I hope criminal charges are eventually filed against those using the power of the government to persecute American citizens.



See Lisa’s post above mine. You have to know by now the “liberal groups were targeted” meme was debunked as evidence of fairness a long time ago. Look at the wait times, number of inquiries, and denials for the conservative groups. This isn’t even worth discussing, since the facts are that liberal groups were not targeted anywhere exponentially close or harrased for information the way conservative key word-related groups were.


… I am so for this you have no idea.

You, the guy screaming that the government doesn’t represent you? Says here you haven’t voted in twelve years. At all.

And you, the one screaming that your rights are being trampled? Says you voted party line for the group promising to do just that. What’d you THINK was gonna happen?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit