IRS settles for $50,000 with National Organization for Marriage

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) settled with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) after an IRS employee improperly disclosed NOM’s Schedule B list of donors to a representative of the media.

The case stems from a request by an individual who represented himself as a member of the media. He sent a request to the IRS requesting the publicly available tax returns (990s) of NOM. An IRS employee, in violation of IRS procedures and allegedly in violation of the Internal Revenue Code, inadvertently disclosed NOM’s Schedule B list of donors in response to the request. The list of donors was then sent to the Huffington Post, and it was published in an article that focused on the fact that an Alabama state PAC associated with Mitt Romney had made a $10,000 donation to NOM.

The list of donors that was published in the Huffington Post article was then used by a known NOM opponent to file a complaint against NOM with the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that NOM violated state election laws. NOM hired legal counsel to defend it, and it was absolved of any wrongdoing.

NOM filed suit against the IRS alleging that the IRS improperly released the donor list. After the judge ruled that NOM expended attorneys’ fees as a “direct result” of the unlawful disclosure, the IRS settled with NOM for $50,000.