Mysterious, Defunct Company Donates $1 Million to Romney SuperPAC

| Thu Aug. 4, 2011 10:59 AM EDT
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

NBC's Michael Isikoff has a bombshell-of-a-scoop on a now-dissolved mystery company that, according to recent campaign fillings, donated $1 million to a super PAC founded by associates of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

That company, W Spann LLC, was formed in March by a Boston-based lawyer named Cameron Casey who specializes in estate tax planning. Six weeks after its formation, W Spann made a mega-contribution to Restore Our Future, the allegedly independent, Romney-linked "super PAC," Isikoff reports.

Casey dissolved W Spann on July 12, two weeks before Restore Our Future made its first campaign filling of 2011, disclosing that it had received just over $12 million in contributions in the first six months of they year. From Isikoff:

[T]he most intriguing of the million-dollar donations was from W Spann LLC. Its address was listed on the Restore Our Future campaign report as 590 Madison Ave., a 43-story, ultra-modern office building in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

But there is no public listing for any company called W Spann LLC at 590 Madison. A top executive of Minskoff Equities, the firm that manages the building, told NBC News that he had "never heard of" W Spann and that his management firm has no record of any such tenant.

Casey works as an associate in a law firm called Ropes & Gray’s. That's where the plot thickens, Isikoff reports:

One of the Rope & Gray’s longtime clients is Bain Capital, the investment firm formerly headed by Romney. It is also one of a number of major companies—including UBS, IBM and Cemex— that have offices at 590 Madison, the address listed for W Spann.

Asked about W Spann, Alex Stanton, a spokesman for Bain Capital said, in an email: "Bain Capital has many employees who actively participate in civic affairs, and they individually support candidates from both parties. The firm takes no position on any candidate, and the entity in question is not affiliated with Bain Capital or any of our employees."

Thanks to the Citizens United decision—which allowed corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns—super PACs like Restore Our Future and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS have been loading their campaign warchests with millions from undisclosed donors.

The use of a here-today-gone-tomorrow front company like W Spann shows just how far these crafty operatives have become at exploiting what's left of campaign finance law.