Corporations, wealthy donors give large amounts to support Romney
By Dan Eggen,
Restore Our Future, the super PAC helping Republican candidate Mitt Romney, raised millions of dollars in May from an array of wealthy donors and corporations giving as much as $1 million, new records show.
The group raised $5 million in May and spent nearly as much on ads, leaving it with $8.4 million in cash. That does not include $10 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson donated in June.
Much of the super PAC's haul last month came from a handful of corporations and wealthy contributors, including $500,000 each from Arkansas investment banker Warren Stephens and Pennsylvania medical executive Rocco Ortenzio, records show. Owners and employees at the Villages of Lake Sumter retirement community in Florida — where Romney sang a widely noted rendition of "America the Beautiful" during a campaign stop — gave the super PAC more than $400,000 in combined donations last month.
A total of $1 million in donations came from a trio of firms listed at a post-office box in Dayton, Ohio, shared with Reynolds and Reynolds, a software firm serving the auto industry. The privately held firm's chief executive, Robert Brockman, is a Romney donor.
Company spokesman Thomas Schwartz said the post-office box belongs to the company, but he said he had not heard of two of the firms listed there: Fairbanks Properties and Waterbanks Properties, which gave Restore Our Future $333,333 and $333,334, respectively. A third company that gave $333,333, called CRC Information Systems, is a software firm purchased by Reynolds and Reynolds several years ago, Schwartz said.
"This is the first time I've heard of those companies," Schwartz said, adding that he is not necessarily familiar with all of his employer's holdings.
Watchdog groups have complained about the ability of wealthy donors to cloak their identities through the use of limited-liability corporations and other entities. A 2010 Supreme Court ruling opened the door to allowing such contributions by lifting restrictions on political spending by corporations.
Other notable Restore Our Future donors in May included Texas oil investor Trevor Rees-Jones ($100,000), conservative publisher Richard Scaife ($67,500) and investor Sam Zell ($20,000). A top Romney fundraiser, Idaho businessman Frank Vandersloot, added $100,000 in May to $1 million previously given to the group.
In the Democratic side, a pro-Obama super PAC called Priorities USA Action said it raised $4 million in May, bringing its total to $40 million for the 2012 election cycle. Though the number marks an improvement, the group still lags Restore Our Future and other GOP-aligned organizations in overall fundraising.