That $1 million donation routed through a mysterious corporation to a Super PAC devoted to electing Mitt Romney? No big deal, Romney told reporters in New Hampshire on Monday.
“I think he came out and discussed who he is,” Romney said of the donor, who revealed himself to be former Bain Capital executive Ed Conard last week. He added that there’s therefore “no controversy because he said, ‘Hey, it’s me, and I’ve given to Mitt many times before.'”Conard only came forward after watchdog groups demanded a federal investigation into a defunct firm, W Spann LLC, that donated $1 million to independent pro-Romney group Restore Our Future before dissolving itself after only a few months in existence. Campaign finance experts suggested that the corporation may have violated laws restricting donors from hiding their contributions under another name. Given little evidence of other activity at the company, watchdogs say the firm may have also violated laws requiring organizations that devote the majority of their resources to political activity to register with the FEC as a political action committee.
Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center, which asked federal officials to look into W Spann LLC last week, told TPM in an e-mail that Conrad’s admission did little to alter the situation.
“Nothing Mr. Conard has done mitigates the need for investigations into possible violations of two aspects of federal campaign finance law: (1) the ban on making contributions in the name of another (i.e., Mr. Conard making a contribution to Restore Our America in the name of W Spann LLC) and (2) the requirement that a group with the major purpose of influencing federal elections that receives contribution in excess of $1,000 register with the FEC as a ‘political committee’ and file disclosure reports,” Ryan wrote.