Fred Karger is asking Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown‘s secret trip to Russia. A centuries-old federal law, the Logan Act, makes it a felony for U.S. citizens to negotiate with foreign governments against America’s interests. Brown reportedly addressed Russian lawmakers in an attempt to get them to pass sweeping anti-gay legislation.
Karger is the first gay Republican presidential candidate in American history. He founded Rights Equal Rights, (formerly Californians Against Hate,) and has spent years investigating and suing NOM for violation of federal political finance laws, including their repeated refusal to disclose their donors.
“It has recently come to my attention that a citizen of the United States, Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) may have violated the Logan Act by recently collaborating with Russian Duma (Parliament) officials without prior authorization of the United States government,” the letter from Karger to Eric Holder and John Kerry reads. “The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 ) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States.”
Brown, which Right Wing Watch first reported last week, and as The New Civil Rights Movement also reported, made a secret trip to Russia and formally addressed the Russian government in a reported attempt to influence the outcome of bills that make discussion of homosexuality and parenting by LGBT people and same-sex couples illegal.
“The presentations by NOM’s Brian Brown were apparently very effective,” Karger’s letter states. “Five days later, the Duma passed a ban on the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples and by single people living in countries that allow marriage equality.”
Immediately after Mr. Brown’s meetings and testimony in the Russian capital, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a severe crackdown on LGBT rights, affecting all LGBT visitors to Russia to include Americans.
If Mr. Brown did travel to Moscow with French religious leaders with the express intention of furthering discrimination against LGBT Russians and all LGBT travelers to Russia, this could be in direct conflict with current United States laws.
It has been widely reported that Mr. Putin’s crackdown against LGBT rights in Russia was in part responsible for President Obama’s cancelation of his much-anticipated visit to Moscow in August for talks with Russian President Putin.
Karger told Then New Civil Rights Movement via an email conversation that “[i]f in fact Brian Brown did meet with Russian officials without the express consent of the United States government he could face serious consequences in this country. We cannot have American citizens lobbying foreign governments on issues that may harm our interests.”
He added, “I hope that the Obama Administration will immediately investigate Brian Brown’s actions and all details of his secret trip to Russia which occurred just four months ago.”
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