Focus Enters The Fray In Maine

There are apparently so many right-wing anti-marriage groups popping up in Maine that Focus on the Family, which has set up its own PAC in the state, can't even figure out to whom it is giving its money:

Focus on the Family, a 31-year-old national Christian group based in Colorado Springs, Colo., formed a Maine political action committee in support of the effort to repeal Maine's same-sex marriage law on Monday, according to state records.

The group describes itself as a "global ministry" whose radio broadcasts by Dr. James Dobson are heard by more than 230 million people around the world each week, according to its Web site. The group has more than 9,000 households on its Maine mailing list, according to a spokeswoman.

The newly formed PAC has received $22,000 in contributions, according to filings with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Last Thursday, it made a $10,000 contribution to the Maine Marriage PAC, which is headed by Bob Emrich, according to state records.

The contribution came as a surprise to Emrich, who said last week he was teaming up with Marc Mutty of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and others to form a coalition behind the StandForMarriageMaine PAC.

"No, that's incorrect," he said Monday, of the $10,000 contribution to his Maine Marriage PAC. "We definitely did not receive money from them in the Maine Marriage PAC, that much I can tell you for sure. There's obviously some sort of reporting error."

Emrich said he had approached Focus on the Family earlier in the year asking for money. He speculated that the group was confused by all of the groups seeking to repeal the law. He also speculated that because his own name is listed on two different PACs, Focus on the Family contributed to the 'wrong' one.

"I don't want to be accountable for that on the wrong PAC, that would mess everything up," Emrich said, adding that he planned to make calls on Tuesday to straighten out the situation.

"I was not expecting a contribution, I was hoping; I was actually hoping that there would be one larger than that, but every bit helps," Emrich said.

To further confuse the situation, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family said its contribution was made to the Maine Marriage Alliance, another anti-gay marriage group with which Emrich is associated. That group does not have a PAC.