Everyone should be free to campaign for their own view of marriage, although some same-sex activists go further than even their own side of the debate thinks fair at times. Businesses, churches and other organisations may also back one horse or the other. But what about the US Inland Revenue Service? Should this government agency be lending a hand?

During the 2012 presidential campaign the Huffington Post published information about a Mitt Romney donation to the National Organisation for Marriage that came from NOM’s 2008 tax return. Last week a court found that the IRS was responsible for the leak and ordered it to pay the (one man one woman) marriage advocacy group $50,000 for the breach of privacy. That money, of course, will come from where all the rest of the tax gatherer’s $$$ comes from – American taxpayers – while the culprit hides behind his/her employer from the five-year prison sentence which is the penalty for such a crime.

This video covers the main points:

 

 

This is from NOM’s press release:

“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 that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. 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 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). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.

“While we are very pleased that the IRS has been exposed as being responsible for this leak of our confidential information to our political opponents, we believe the IRS may still be hiding information from the American people,” Eastman said. “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 . We urge the Congress to explore this issue with the appropriate government officials. It’s imperative that all those who have engaged in corrupt practices and illegal acts in the IRS be identified and held accountable.”

Investors Business Daily notes:

Eastman testified before Congress that the leaked list led to a “campaign of harassment and intimidation” against the National Organization for Marriage’s financial backers. That included boycotts of their businesses, physical assault and the vandalizing of private property. This leak is a felony that is punishable by five years in a federal prison.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet