NOM, Family Council register to begin fundraising for marriage battle

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The National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council have registered with the state campaign finance board to actively encourage voters to support an anti–gay marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot. The organizations are the target of an investigation by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board following a complaint that both groups failed to disclose lobbying efforts in the 2010 election.

MFC and NOM created Minnesota for Marriage and registered it as a ballot question committee late last week, a designation that will allow it to begin fundraising. John Helmberger, CEO of the Family Council, is listed as the chair of Minnesota for Marriage as well as its treasurer.

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, registered as a lobbyist with the campaign finance board in early May, less than two weeks after the Minnesota Independent reporting on a pending investigation with the board over alleged lobbying violations.

Common Cause Minnesota filed a complaint with that board this spring alleging that a series of ads put out by MFC and NOM violated lobbying rules. The MFC allegedly violated the rules by failing to disclose spending on ads that urged constituents to contact their legislators in an effort to get an anti–gay marriage amendment on the ballot in 2012. Common Cause also alleged that NOM should have been registered as a lobbyist when it ran ads along with MFC.

And on May 6, Brown registered as a lobbyist in Minnesota.

The Associated Press also notes that the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the policy wing of the Roman Catholic church in Minnesota, is also involved in the Minnesota for Marriage effort.

Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition of organizations that oppose the amendment, has not registered with the board, but OutFront Minnesota, the lead group in that coalition has registered as a ballot question committee.