Thursday, October 15, 2009

Solmonese's ME Gay
Marriage Donations = $0?

Last November, after CA gay marriage was reversed by the voters, I conducted a survey of giving to the No on 8 side by top Human Rights Campaign leaders, and found that the boss, Joe Solmonese, had given zero dollars. The grand total for donations by HRC leaders to No on 8 was $2,275.

While the leaders as individuals had given small amounts, the organization had donated tens of thousands to retain gay marriage rights here.

With Solmonese under renewed and escalating pressure this week to prove he an effective advocate for gay equality in Washington, I checked up on any donations he made to the No on 1 campaign to keep gay marriage in Maine.

FYI, according to Cindy Sullivan, spokesperson for the Maine Commission on Ethics and Election Practices, in response to my query about how current their donations' search engine is, "The information is available as soon as [the campaigns] 'file' their reports [...] The next report is due on October 13th, which will include all activity from 7/6/09-9/30/09."

So the data is very current, and here is what turns up when searching for contributions from the head of America's largest gay political group:
Maine Won't Discriminate
Solmonese, Joseph
Washington DC 20036
Cash $300.00
No hits were returned for any donations from him to No on 1. I guess with his $338,400 salary he's got better things to do with his money than give to No on 1. Maybe he doesn't follow the EMILY rule, early money is like yeast, and contribute in the first months of such gay proposition battle. Solmonese could be waiting till October to make a donation.

BTW, at the federal level so far this year, Solmonese has made a single donation of $1,000, and it went to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Does it tell us anything that he's apparently given zero to the gay marriage fight in Maine but wrote a low four-figure check for a straight Democrat?

I looked at just a few other HRC folks and their giving to No on 1 and found they donated small amounts, and three key people have coughed up nothing:
Susanne Salkind
September 9 and 30

Mary Breslauer
August 24

David Smith

Cathy Nelson

Hilary Rosen
Not much giving by these individuals, but to their credit, the HRC Maine Marriage PAC has raised nearly $140,000 for the No on 1 campaign, with $95,000 of it coming from HRC itself and I publicly laud them for that giving. If HRC would care to disclose all amounts donated by HRC executives, board members and staffers, I would welcome such transparency from them.

However, if I saw the HRC leaders writing out their own personal checks to help the effort in Maine, I would more charitably upon them and the example they set as community leaders.

Scrutiny of everything to do with HRC and those who lead it on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans must expand, if we are ever to make this advocacy organization an effective one that benefits the larger community.


Anonymous said...

I gave $3,000 myself to help save the right to marry in California and I've given $500 to help save marriage in Maine and at least $100 to help preserve domestic partnerships in Washington state. I earn less than $60,000 yearly.

Spouse Walker said...

Now that's information i value. Thank you.