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Family Leader claims ‘unprecedented’ support recently, but won’t divulge amount

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/DollarBillsThumb1.jpgOfficials from the conservative activist group The Family Leader are choosing to stay mum on donation amounts they have accumulated in recent weeks in light a protest petition against their leader Bob Vander Plaats, but say the overall amount is “unprecedented.”

Bob Vander Plaats

“I can tell you that we have received unprecedented support, but we’re not going to release any amounts or the names of our donors at this point in time,” Julie Summa, director of marketing for The Family Leader, told The Iowa Independent Wednesday afternoon.

Such support came after One Iowa and coalition of organizations admonished Vander Plaats, who was seen in a video obtained by the liberal advocacy group Think Progress laughing at an off-colored joke about homosexuals. One Iowa, the state’s largest gay rights advocacy organization, petitioned Vander Plaats to apologize.

Efforts have evolved into a movement that includes boycotting Wells Blue Bunny products, after gay rights activists identified the Wells family as financial backers of Vander Plaats. Last week, the corporation released the following:

“Blue Bunny and Wells Enterprises have never donated money to Bob Vander Plaat’s (sic) political campaign. Everyone, including our employees, has a right to support political activities within their role as a private citizen. What our employees support personally is in no way an endorsement by our brand or our company.”

Summa said The Family Leader will not comment on the boycott, and deferred to the company’s press release.

As of Wednesday, Summa said The Family Leader officials do not have an estimate or official count on signatures on The Marriage Vow pledge.

Late Tuesday The Family Leader issued an email to supporters which also noted “unprecedented media attention, website visits and financial support” due to the “relentless assault” by “the radical left, the liberal media and the lukewarm right.”

The message noted: “An attack on us is also a direct attack on your family, your values, and your freedoms. We take this very seriously.” (Emphasis in original.)

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