FEC and DOJ: FEC & DOJ Asked to Investigate More “Straw Companies” Making Million Dollar Contributions to Romney-linked “Super PAC”
Today, the Campaign Legal Center, with Democracy 21, will urge the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate more possible violations of campaign finance law by companies that appear to have been utilized to hide the identity of $1 million contributors to Restore Our Future, a Super PAC operated by former Mitt Romney campaign staffers. Today’s complaints come on the heels of a complaint filed last Friday by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 against another $1 million mystery donor to Restore Our Future, W Spann LLC. Shortly after Friday’s filing, the true donor behind W Spann LLC came forward.
Today’s complaints to the FEC and letters to DOJ will ask the agencies to formally investigate the activities of the F8 LLC and Eli Publishing L.C. for possible violations of the ban on making contributions in the name of another and for failing to organize and register as a political committee. The activities outlined in media reports paint a picture of companies used to hide the identities of the actual donors seeking to curry favor with a candidate running for the highest office in the land.
“The use of ‘straw companies’ to funnel money anonymously into Restore Our Future does not appear to have been limited to a single company, but seems to be a pattern that places additional urgency on the need for the FEC and DOJ to vigorously investigate these companies and to enforce the laws on the books before this problem becomes even more widespread,” said Paul S. Ryan, FEC Program Director at the Campaign Legal Center, which took the lead in drafting the FEC complaint and letter to the Justice Department. “Existing laws must be enforced to give citizens a fighting chance of knowing who or what is spending millions of dollars in an attempt to influence their vote and to curry favor with elected officials.”
“The enforcement agencies need to send a clear message to donors that they need to put their name on the check if they’re going to be giving to Super PACs and I hope that reporters are taking a close look at filings by other Super PACs so that these types of abuses are smoked out,” said Ryan. “The fact that Restore Our Future has been the recipient of all three mysterious $1 million contributions warrants exploration of the PAC’s knowledge of or involvement in this ‘straw company’ donation scheme.”
“There are now three $1 million donors who apparently hid their true identities from the American people when they provided huge contributions to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney Super PAC,” according to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer. “Both the secrecy and the size of the contributions to Restore our Future are extremely dangerous to the interests of the American people. Secret and unlimited contributions in American politics invariably result in scandal and corruption. Mitt Romney needs to speak out loud and clear that he wants full transparency for all of the money being raised and spent to support his presidential campaign.”
“Mitt Romney also needs to act promptly against secrecy in his own campaign by disclosing the individual bundlers who are raising large amounts of money for his 2012 presidential campaign, as he was perfectly willing to do when he disclosed the bundlers for his 2008 presidential campaign,” Wertheimer said. “All of the 2012 presidential candidates should disclose the bundlers raising large amounts of money for them as presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain did in 2008, and as President Obama is doing for his 2012 presidential campaign,” according to Wertheimer.