Fred Karger, president of Rights Equal
Rights, plans to file a complaint on Thursday against Rick Santorum
and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
The Federal Election Commission (FEC)
filing centers on Santorum's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 GOP
Karger alleges that an endorsement from
social conservative Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of the Family Leader,
included cash to pay for ads promoting Vander Plaats' endorsement of
Santorum for president.
Santorum told CNN at the time that
Vander Plaats told him earlier that “he needed money to promote”
an eventual endorsement, but didn't make “a direct ask.”
“What he talked about was he needed
money to promote the endorsement and that that would be important to
do that,” Santorum said of a conversation which took place in the
fall of 2011. “There was never a direct ask for me to go out and
raise money for it.”
Speaking to the Des
Moines Register, Vander Plaats said there was “absolutely
no 'quid pro quo'” for the endorsement and no “coordination”
with the campaign.
He said promoting his endorsement was
an “ethical responsibility.”
“You can't say, 'We endorse you. Now
see you later,'” Vander Plaats told the paper. “That's not going
to do a lot in the long run.”
News quoted multiple sources as claiming that Vander Plaats was
soliciting as much as $1 million for his endorsement.
Karger's complaint will argue that NOM
and its consultants “played a major role in paying for and securing
the Vander Plaats endorsement of Santorum for president.”