-By Maggie Haberman
August 5, 2011- The anonymous donor behind the headline-making $1 million contribution to a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC is a former Bain Capital official with long ties to the candidate, who's asking the outside group to amend its filings, POLITICO has learned.
The check-writer is Ed Conard, who was a top official at Bain, the private-equity firm Romney helped create, and who has been a strong supporter of his over the years.
The donation, made to the super PAC "Restore Our Future" – which was founded by former Romney advisers and is able to take in unlimited contributions, but must report them to the FEC – showed up in the group's first round of filings. It was listed as coming from a W Spann LLC.
In a statement to POLITICO, Conard said, "I am the individual who formed and funded W Spann LLC. 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," he said. "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."
The LLC had been registered to a Madison Avenue address in Manhattan that was the same building occupied by Bain, sparking more of the mystery surrounding Spann. Sources familiar with the situation said Conard retired from Bain in 2007, but still maintains an office of his own at that Madison Avenue address.
Conard came forward as criticism from campaign watchdogs and Democrats were gathering steam, and there was an official complaint with the FEC, as well as with the Justice Department, filed by a nonpartisan group.
The contribution was first reported by POLITICO's Jonathan Martin and Ken Vogel on Sunday. NBC's Michael Isikoff reported earlier this week that Spann was formed in March and dissolved less than four months later, raising questions about the purpose of the company.
It wasn't immediately clear why Conard chose to go the anonymous donation route.