The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board has voted to investigate whether a national group that opposes same-sex marriage violated state law during the 2012 campaign to unseat an Iowa Supreme Court justice.
Fred Karger, a California Republican who is a gay rights activist, filed a complaint about the National Organization for Marriage.
“They’re very duplicitous. They’re bullies,” Karger told reporters. “They’ll say and do anything to raise money.”
Karger found a fundraising letter in which the National Organization of Marriage asked for donations for its “No Wiggins” campaign to unseat Justice David Wiggins. State law requires the names of donors to be disclosed if they’re giving money for the purpose of defeating the justice, something the National organization for Marriage did not do in this case.
“We caught them and I’m so grateful for the (Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board) for moving forward on this investigation because we’ll find out where this money’s coming from,” Karger said after the board’s decision.
A letter from an attorney representing the National Organization for Marriage dismissed Karger’s complaint as “baseless” and “erroneous.” Iowa Ethics Board chairman James Albert discussed the attorney’s assertion that it’s donors can be kept secret during today’s meeting.
“Is that a correct representation of the law?” Albert asked.
Megan Tooker, an attorney who is the executive director of the Iowa Ethics Board, replied: “No, that’s absolutely false.”
The board voted unanimously to investigate the National Organization for Marriage. Karger — the man who filed the complaint — said the group spent over $700,000 in 2010 and 2012 to oust four state supreme court justices who joined the court’s 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa. Three justices were voted out in 2010, but Justice Wiggins won his retention vote in 2012.
AUDIO of board meeting, runs 19:06
AUDIO of Karger’s testimony before board, runs 11:26