WASHINGTON—The Internal Revenue Service will pay the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) $50,000 for illegally leaking the group’s donor list to a political foe. In a settlement approved Tuesday, the government agency admitted wrongdoing and agreed to the compensation.
In 2012, NOM’s tax documents were posted on the Human Rights Campaign’s website, revealing a list of people who had given money to the group. After the IRS refused to cooperate with the investigation, NOM filed suit in October 2013.
John Eastman, NOM’s chairman, is happy about the outcome but said the fight isn’t over.
“There’s more to come,” he said. “We’re going to keep pressing in other avenues.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, NOM said Michael Meisel, a gay rights activist who gave the tax return to the Human Rights Campaign, admitted to having a conduit into the IRS but has not revealed the identity of his contact. The Justice Department announced it will not prosecute Meisel and will not encourage him to talk about what he knows by granting him immunity.
Eastman believes that indicates a deeper issue and hopes to get to the bottom of it.
“I don’t know what the IRS or the Department of Justice are trying to hide but when you’ve got people claiming the Fifth Amendment, there’s usually a little bit of fire behind that smoke,” he said.
Knowingly disseminating illegally obtained tax documents is a felony, a crime Eastman said Meisel shouldn’t be allowed to get away with. But NOM is glad the IRS has been cooperative in compensating it for damages the leak caused.
“We’re pleased that we were able to prove that the IRS was the originating source of the illegal disclosure,” Eastman said. “We are exploring other civil actions against any entities who continue to misuse our tax return for their own benefit.”