Mystery solved! The person who donated $1 million to a pro-Romney group through a barely existent company, W Spann LLC, has outed himself after campaign watchdogs demanded a federal investigation.
Ed Conard, a former executive at Bain Capital, which Romney co-founded, told Politico on Friday that he had funneled the money to Super PAC Restore Our Future on the advice of his lawyers.
“I am the individual who formed and funded W Spann LLC,” he said in a statement. “I authorized W Spann LLC’s contribution to Restore Our Future PAC. I did so after consulting prominent legal counsel regarding the transaction, and based on my understanding that the contribution would comply with applicable laws. To address questions raised by the media concerning the contribution, I will request that Restore Our Future PAC amend its public reports to disclose me as the donor associated with this contribution.”
Watchdog groups like the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 asked federal and state officials to look into the matter, claiming that the use of shell companies to conceal contributors violated laws prohibiting donors from giving money indirectly through another person. Democratic officials, as well as presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, condemned the donation in recent days.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.