The Internal Revenue Service has admitted wrongdoing in releasing the National Organization for Marriage’s donor list and has agreed to pay NOM $50,000 to settle a resulting lawsuit.
The donor list was obtained by the Human Rights Campaign.
"It has been a long and arduous process to hold the IRS accountable for their illegal release of our confidential tax return and donor list, which was ultimately given to our chief political rival by the recipient," said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman and a member of the ActRight legal Foundation team that brought the lawsuit against the IRS on NOM’s behalf in October, 2013. "In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information."
NOM said in a statement that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had "a conduit" to obtain NOM’s confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit.
“Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign),” NOM said. The information was also published by the Huffington Post.
“We have called on the Attorney General to grant Matthew Meisel immunity from prosecution so that we can force him to disclose the identity of his conduit,” the statement read.
Requests for comment from NOM and the Human Rights Campaign have not yet been answered. An IRS spokesman said he was prohibited by law from commenting.