NBC News: Firm gives $1 million to pro-Romney group, then dissolves

Records offer no clues who was behind mystery company that donated to 'super PAC' 

-By Michael Isikoff

August 4, 2011- A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The existence of the million-dollar donation — as gleaned from campaign and corporate records obtained by NBC News — provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.

The company, W Spann LLC, was formed in March by a Boston lawyer who specializes in estate tax planning for “high net worth individuals,” according to corporate records and the lawyer’s bio on her firm’s website.

The corporate records provide no information about the owner of the firm, its address or its type of business.

Six weeks later, W Spann LLC made its million-dollar donation to Restore Our Future — a new so-called “super PAC” started by a group of former Romney political aides to boost the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential bid. It listed its address as being in a midtown Manhattan office building that has no record of such a tenant.

The Boston lawyer, Cameron Casey, dissolved the company on July 12 — two weeks before Restore Our Future made its first campaign filing of the year reporting the donation from the now-nonexistent company, the corporate records show.

“I don’t see how you can do this,” said Lawrence Noble, the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, when asked about the contribution from the now defunct company.

If the only purpose of W Spann’s formation was to contribute to the pro-Romney group, “There is a real issue of it being just a subterfuge” and that could raise a "serious" legal issue, Noble said. Even if that is not the case, he added, “What you have here is a roadmap for how people can hide their identities” when making political contributions.

Casey, the Boston lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment. Tim Larimer, a spokesman for her law firm, Ropes & Gray, said he couldn’t discuss who was behind W Spann LLC or any other matters relating to the campaign contribution. “The firm won’t be making any comment on this matter at this time,” he said in an email.

FULL STORY HERE:



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