Preserve Marriage Washington Fined $5,000, NOM ‘Will Help’

Preserve Marriage Washington Fined $5,000, NOM ‘Will Help’

- in Politics, Local
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Anti-gay group Preserve Marriage Washington has been required to pay a $5,000 fine for failing to report nearly $300,000 of its expenditures in a 2012 campaign.

“In the course of our reporting, we acknowledge failing to report information that we should have reported earlier,” executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Joseph Backholm said. “We did the best we could with the resources we had.”

After Gov. Chris Gregoire singed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington on February 13, 2012, the group started a campaign to repeal the law with a referendum. They got enough signatures to get Referendum 74 on the ballot.

Nearly $16 million was raised and spent in the campaign, which was lost when voters approved the measure to uphold the law.

Chris Plante and Frank Schubert were hired to guide the campaign. In August of 2012, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) received a complaint that the reports didn’t show their salaries.

After an investigation of the group, PDC said the organization failed to timely report expenditures and debts totaling to $297,587 and that some of the required information was reported a month late with other information on campaign management being reported several months late.

According to the groups attorney, Joseph Vanderhulst, no information was “intentionally or maliciously withheld from public disclosure during the campaign” and that the cited errors “came to the PDC’s attention because of the group’s self-reporting, and not from the original complaint.”

While the group has been inactive since the election, they can not dissolve until the investigation is complete.

The National Organization for Marriage “will make a contribution to cover the fine and then this [group] will go away,” Backholm said.

Photo by Elvert Barnes

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