Claim: Obama Campaign Co-Chair Attacked Romney with Leaked IRS Docs
One of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign co-chairmen used a leaked document from the IRS to attack GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 election, according to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
NOM, a pro-traditional marriage organization, claims the IRS leaked their 2008 confidential financial documents to the rival Human Rights Campaign. Those NOM documents were published on the Huffington Post on March 30, 2012. At that time, Joe Solmonese, a left-wing activist and Huffington Post contributor, was the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Solmonese was also a 2012 Obama campaign co-chairman.
Both the Huffington Post's Sam Stein and HRC described the leak as coming from a “whistleblower.” The Huffington Post used the document to write a story questioning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s support for traditional marriage. The document showed Romney donated $10,000 to NOM. HRC went a step further than the Huffington Post in its criticism of Romney and accused him of using “racially divisive tactics” in a press release.
Solmonese, then still the HRC’s president, said in the release he felt Romney’s “funding of a hate-filled campaign designed to drive a wedge between Americans is beyond despicable.”
“Not only has Romney signed NOM’s radical marriage pledge, now we know he’s one of the donors that NOM has been so desperate to keep secret all these years,” Solmonese added.
Solmonese resigned his position at HRC the next day and took up a position as an Obama campaign co-chair. He had announced the then-pending resignation from HRC the previous autumn.
NOM announced Tuesday that it will sue the IRS for this alleged leak. Under immense political pressure, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal investigation into the IRS's actions. Congress will conduct ts own investigation.
In early April 2012, NOM published documents which it said showed this leaked confidential information did not come from a “whistleblower” but “came directly from the Internal Revenue Service and was provided to NOM's political opponents, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).”
NOM discovered that when HRC published its confidential financial documents, it failed to conceal the source of the documents. “After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service,” NOM asserted in its April 2012 release.
“The top of each page says, ‘THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY,’" the statement continues. "On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of ‘100560209.’ Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with ‘Official Use’ information."
NOM president Brian Brown argued in that April 2012 release that the leak was made to benefit President Obama’s re-election campaign against Romney, his GOP challenger. “The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents whose leader also happens to be co-chairing President Obama's reelection committee,” Brown said.
“It is shocking that a political ally of President Obama's would come to possess and then publicly release a confidential tax return that came directly from the Internal Revenue Service," he declared. "We demand to know who is responsible for this criminal act and what the Administration is going to do to get to the bottom of it.”