WATCH: Justice Lectures NOM on How the Legal System Works

The National Organization for Marriage is trying to fend off an investigation in Maine for possibly funneling money illegally.

BY Lucas Grindley

April 12 2013 11:26 AM ET

Kaylan Phillips

The National Organization for Marriage is appealing to keep its donor list secret, but at least one of Maine's Supreme Judicial Court justices is skeptical.

"You have said, trust us, we did not do anything," observed Justice Leigh Saufley, challenging NOM's lawyer Kaylan Phillips during a hearing on Thursday. Saufley said NOM is essentially telling the judiciary that "you're simply going to have to rely on our word." But, she lectured, "that's not how litigation works in the United States."

The exchange was recorded on video by the Kennebec Journal. The state wants to investigate allegations that NOM illegally funneled money — up to $1.9 million — into a campaign to stop Maine from legalizing same-sex marriage. But NOM continues to insist it has the right to keep its donor list a secret because of the way it solicited the donations.

NOM concedes that much of its fundraising was handled in direct conversations, not merely through email. Phyllis Gardiner, assistant attorney general, said the state shouldn't be restricted in its investigation to "one party's version of the conversation."

Although the U.S. Supreme Court had already denied NOM the chance to appeal once again at the federal level, it's still working its way through the state appeals process.

Read The Advocate's recent investigation of NOM's fundraising practices, "Dirty Money," by reporter E.J. Graff. 

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