Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maine: following Question 1 money, an update

Regular readers know I'm a big believer in following the money in politics, and I've been keeping an eye on the funds behind Question 1, the ballot measure that successfully overturned same sex marriage here in Maine.

It's already been reported that the majority of the funds came from a Princeton, New Jersey based group that has thus far failed to reveal their donors, as required under Maine law. The National Organization for Marriage even sued the state of Maine in an effort to keep the source of their money secret. This month they announced they plan to run advertisements before next June's state legislative primaries and the general election targeting legislators who voted for same sex marriage.

Yesterday morning, Stand for Marriage Maine -- the group that sponsored Question 1 -- released their final ballot question financing report, which reveals donations and expenditures since October 21st, the closing days of the campaign. The group raised a total of $525, 720 in this final period, of which 64.7% came from the National Organization for Marriage, bringing NOM's total contribution to $1.94 million, or 63.1% of Stand for Marriage Maine's funds.

Other large last minute donors included $7000 from Gary Bauer's American Values, $10,000 from James Dobson's Focus on the Family, and $25,000 from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson's Fieldstead & Company, a California-based Christian philanthropy that had once been a major donor to a foundation that advocated the stoning of gays. (They've since withdrawn support.)

If you'd like to read the ballot question disclosure documents for all the groups on both sides of Question 1, you can find them here. (The final reports technically aren't due until Dec. 15, and as of this writing, No on 1 had not yet filed theirs.)

More on this topic coming up in the bricks-and-mortar media.... [Update, 1/25/10: My full report on this issue in Down East is available here.]

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