AMY CONTRADA

Romney's Big Money

How Mitt Romney Is Buying the Republican Nomination: His “Leadership PAC” doling out money to elected officials and candidates around the country.

    And: Who is donating to his Super PACs?

RESOURCE LINKS compiled by Amy L. Contrada
April 10, 2012

Money and power. That’s all it’s about. Conservative Republican principles? Throw them out the window – while calling yourself a conservative. Collect donations with no limits from wealthy donors for your “Leadership PAC.” Spread it around the Republican Party throughout the U.S. Then count your endorsements.

Since first setting eyes on the White House, Mitt Romney and his backers have spent over $200 million — including $44.6 million of his fortune — on a seven-year quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney … can thank former business partners and friends in and around Wall Street who've been among his earliest and biggest donors. A look back shows the depth of Romney's investment in trying to win the nation's highest office, how his supporters circumvented federal campaign laws with huge, back-channel donations years before he declared his candidacy and who the benefactors are whom he might owe favors if he wins….

Beginning in 2004, an array of other state and federal pro-Romney committees [Commonwealth PAC] sprang up to spend millions on staff salaries and on political consultants, while creating a sort of patronage system that spread cash to politicians whose endorsements he coveted.

"When you look at his operation, you end up with two words: Romney, Inc.," said Fred Wertheimer, the dean of Washington campaign finance watchdogs as president of the nonpartisan group Democracy 21. '"It's as if Mitt Romney is integrating his business experience in the investment banking world into the political world and creating multiple ways in which to advance his presidency. This is a highly sophisticated, far-reaching money operation designed to curry favor with politicians and local and state political organizations, and it's financed by donors who are bound to have great influence with Mitt Romney if he's elected president."

- “Romney's quest for White House began years ago, costing $200 million,” Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, 3/4/2012

The amounts noted here are those funds which have been tracked so far. (More “Free & Strong America” PAC donations in the 2012 election cycle may be pending.)

What other promises of donations, access, or positions have been made by the Romney campaign that we’ll never know about? What donations by another person or entity, acting as a Romney proxy, may have occurred? One example: Romney’s new hand-picked Chairman of the Mass. Republican State Committee has given donations to almost all Republican State Representatives or Senators in the State House. (SOURCE: pending MassResistance report.)

Romney’s Commonwealth PAC (2006) or Free & Strong America PAC (2008, 2010, 2012) have doled out quite a bit of money, as well as serving as Romney for President slush funds:

2006 – Total receipts $2,929,370. Of that, $206,5000 went to candidates & committees. (Open Secrets)

2007-8 Romney’s presidential campaign spent $105 million, including $44.6 million of his own money, in his failed attempt for the nomination. (McClatchy)

2008 Total receipts $2,306,746. Of that, $383,800 went to candidates & committees. (Open Secrets)

2010 Total receipts $9,133,778. Of that, $1.2 million to federal & non-federal candidates and committees (Open Secrets) including $772,000 to 257 Congressional candidates (McClatchy).

2012 (as of 4//9/2012) Total receipts $3,057,922. Of that, $491,500 went to federal & non-federal candidates & committees. (Open Secrets)

iWatch News reported (March 2012) that Romney’s PAC gave “at least $1.78 million to hundreds of local and national Republican candidates and organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the White House.” The Romney PACs are registered as “Free and Strong America” in these states: Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa, and New Hampshire. (Romney’s earlier leadership PAC in 2005-2006 was the “Commonwealth PAC.”)

Politico explained in “Romney’s Crafty Financing” (2010) that while much of the leadership PAC money went to candidates, the bulk went to funding Romney’s own campaign: “By creating a string of state committees, Romney is able to operate around those barriers dolling out big checks to state Republican parties and candidates alike. … But the vast majority of the money raised by Romney’s five state committees, which exceeds $480,000 [in 2010], is actually spent to support the Boston-based operation of the federal PAC — and home of Romney’s campaign apparatus. Each state [PAC] committee is regularly docked to pay a portion of Romney’s paid staff costs in Boston and for various presidential campaign consultants who remain on retainer. The local committees are even charged a portion of the headquarters’ phone bills and shredding service….”

Salon.com reported (January 2012) on 35 endorsers who first received his money: "Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC and its affiliates states have lavished close to $1.3 million in campaign donations to federal, state and local GOP politicians, almost all since 2010." His Free and Strong America PAC “donated $890,299 to some 167 congressional and Senate candidates in 2010, while distributing another $404,226 in 2010 to state and local candidates.”

Go for lists of federal candidates receiving Romney PAC money, 2006-2012.

COMPLETE LISTS OF CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES RECEIVING Romney’s “Leadership PAC” DONATIONS HERE: 2006 2008 2010 2012

I. Below is just a partial list of elected officials who have endorsed Romney and received donations from his Leadership PAC. A summary list of Romney endorsements can be seen here. For example, in D.C., Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia: “19 … lawmakers … are backing Romney after his PAC poured a total of $125,500 into their coffers for elections held in 2009 and 2010.” (Salon.com) In Tennessee: $17,500 to state & federal candidates, 2010. (Salon.com)

GOVERNORS
Gov. Dave Heineman, NE - $5,000 (2010)
Gov. Chris Christie, NJ $6,800 (2009)
Gov. Bill Haslam, TN $5,000 (2010)
Gov. Nikki Haley, SC $62,500. (iWatch News)
Gov. Bob McDonnell, VA $5,000 (2009) + $5,000 (2010)
Gov. Butch Otter, ID - $5,000 (2010)
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty $5,000 personal donation from Mitt & Ann Romney (after he dropped out of the race (iWatch News).

US Senators
Sen. Lamar Alexander, TN $2,300 (2008)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, NH $7,500 (2010 + 2011)
Sen. Roy Blunt, MO $9,671 (2012); Friends of Roy Blunt $10,000 (2009 + 2010)
Sen. Scott Brown, MA $19,000 (2010 + 2012)
Sen. Richard Burr, NC $5,000 (2010)
Sen. Thad Cochran, MS - $2,300 (2008)
[Senator Jim DeMint, SC (a non-endorsement endorsement in 2012; endorsed Romney 2008) – $12,500 (2006, 2010, 2012)]
Sen. Orrin Hatch $5,000 (2012)
Sen. John Hoeven, ND $7,500 (2010 + 2012)
Sen. Ron Johnson, WI $7,500 (2010 + 2012)
Sen. Mark Kirk, IL - $8,500 (2010 + 2012)
Sen. Mike Lee, UT $5,000 (2010)
Sen. John McCain, AZ $5,000 (2010)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, AK $2,500 (2012)
Sen. Rob Portman, OH –$2,989 (2010 + 2012)
Sen. Jim Risch, ID $2,299 (2008)
Senator Marco Rubio, FL $7,625 (2010 + 2012)
[Sen. Pat Toomey, SC (a non-endorsement endorsement) $7,500 (2010 + 2012)]
[Failed Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, MD: $5,000 in 2010.]

Congressmen
Congressman & Minority Leader Eric Cantor, VA – $5,000 (2010)
Congressman Charlie Bass, NH $6,500 (2006) $5,500 (2010 + 2011)
Congressman Brian Bilbray, CA $6,800 (2008-2012)
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack - $4,500 (2010 + 2012)
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, UT $6,800 (2008-2012)
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, FL $4,500 (2010 + 2012)
Congresswoman Kay Granger, TX – $6,800 (2008-2012)
Congressman Buck McKeon, CA $7,300 (2008 + 2012)
Congressman Connie Mack, FL $8,465 (2008, 2010 + Senate race 2012)
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, CA $2,500 (2010)
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, MI $6,750 (2006, 2010, 2012)
Congresswoman Candice Miller, MI $7,000
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, CA $6,800 (2008-2012)
Congressman Paul Ryan, WI – $2500 (2010)

State-level politicians were also supported by Romney’s PACs. See this example of Romney’s PAC donations to state committees in 2010 (Open Secrets). Other examples:

New Hampshire: “A U.S. senator, a congressman, 10 state senators and three executive councilors shared $26,000 in donations from Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC in 2010 and 2011 combined.” Romney’s PAC gave “$53,000 to help local officials win races, and another $13,000 for congressional and Senate candidates.” (Salon.com)

Georgia: 9 Congressmen received $25,052 in 2010. 24 state candidates received $36,000 in 2010. (Salon.com)

Virginia: $27,500 including to endorsers Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and State Rep. Barbara Comstock. (Salon.com) Comstock, who also works for the Romney campaign, received $6,191 from the PAC in 2009-2010. (Open Secrets)

Ohio: $37,500. Endorsements followed from Sen. Rob Portman and three of Ohio’s 18 representatives in the State House. (Salon.com)

Iowa, 2004-2010: $541,000 to county Republican committees and GOP candidates for the state legislature and statewide office, including $130,000 to former congressman Jim Nussle's 2006 gubernatorial campaign. (McClatchy).

Some politicians receiving Romney PAC donations who have NOT endorsed him (as of 4/10/2012):

OH Gov. John Kasich, NM Gov. SusanaMartinez, KS Gov. Sam Brownback, GA Gov. Nathan Deal, IA Gov. Terry Branstad, failed 2006 IA Gov. candidate Jim Nussle, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, Rep. Steven King, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. John Kyl, Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Dan Coats, Sen. Pat Toomey, former Sen. Mike DeWine (2006; first endorsed Romney, later Santorum), Rick Santorum ($for Senate race 2006); Rick Perry ($for Governor race 2010).

II. Conservative organizations known via press reports to have taken money from Romney or a Romney PAC, later giving him a platform, a positive mention, an award, or an endorsement:

Former President George H. W. Bush & former Gov. Jeb Bush: endorsed Romney in 2012, after his personal $100K donation to George W. Bush Library.

National Organization for Marriage, $10K, funneled through Alabama PAC, 2008. Its co-founder, Maggie Gallagher, wrote a misleading column (Dec. 2011) defending Romney’s record on “gay marriage” in Massachusetts – but completely ignoring his violations of the Mass. Constitution when he implemented same-sex marriage without legislative authorization.

Romney gave the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty $25,000 in 2008 – the same year the organization gave Mitt & Ann Romney an award for protecting religious freedom.

"Evangelicals for Mitt” : close ties to Romney campaignTime Magazine Swampland blog, 12/12/2011. Evangelicals’ bloggers, David and Nancy French deny it, [but] campaign finance experts say the couple’s group looks like a thinly disguised extension of the Romney campaign. ‘They appear to be able to spend lots of money, but won’t say where it comes from.’ ” The Frenches also give money to National Review and write positively about Romney in that magazine. They “are also quietly linked to two wealthy Romney donors in Massachusetts … and all four have close ties to Romney’s campaign funding organization through a web of companies and nonprofits.”

Heritage Foundation – $25,000 in 2005 (personal charity donation). He was featured as speaker at least three times (between 2004-2006) as well as receiving their support designing and promoting RomneyCare.

Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies , $35,000 total. $25,000 in 2005, and another $10,000 in 2006 (personal charity donations). Romney was featured speaker at their annual meeting in 2005. "The Federalist Society is an organization of highly distinguished lawyers that includes members of the Supreme Court and the US Senate who agree with Governor Romney that judges should commit themselves to the rule of law and not legislate from the bench," [Gov. Romney’s aide] Fehrnstrom said.” That was a focus of Romney’s speech to the group – after he had allowed the Mass. Supreme Court to legislate “gay marriage” from the bench.

National Review magazine’s foundation took a $5,000 personal donation from Romney, and $5,000 from Evangelicals for Mitt in 2006 for their annual dinner. In December 2007, National Review endorsed Romney for the Republican nomination. See also Kathryn Jean Lopez’s acknowledgement of donations.

Mass. Citizens for Life - $15,000 in 2006. See background at this pro-life blog. Romney received an award for “political leadership” from MCFL in 2007.

Citizens for Limited Taxation (Mass.) - $10,000 in 2006.

Massachusetts Family Institute - $10,000 in 2006.

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Romney and the 1% - Who is donating to his Leadership PAC and Super PAC?
    A few links...

Donors to Romney’s “Leadership PACs (links go to Open Secrets):

2006 Commonwealth PAC

2008 Free & Strong America PAC

2010 Free & Strong America PAC

2012 Free & Strong America PAC

Donors to his Super PACs (just a sampling):

“Finance industry makes up nearly half of pro-Romney super PAC’s donations”

Singer is a fiscal conservative and an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve. But he’s not afraid to disagree with the Republican Party’s social conservatives. He also supports gay rights and was a key backer of the campaign to legalize gay marriage in New York. A spokesman for Elliott Management who was familiar with Singer’s giving would not comment on the donation.

How closely are Romney’s Super PACs coordinated with the Romney campaign? “The Ties That Bind: Romney and the Super PACs,” Open Secrets blog, 4/6/2012.:

Restore Our Future, the independent super PAC run on behalf of Romney that has to date reported raising $36.8 million from a few dozen large donors, including $3 million from Romney's former Bain colleagues and their wives. The committee has become the chief vehicle for bankrolling broadcast ads attacking Romney's rivals in primary states. …

Steven Schier, a political science professor at Carleton College in Minnesota… said that without Romney's personal wealth and financial connections, "I don't even think we'd be talking about Mitt Romney today as a candidate. Take it all away and where is he? He's nowhere."

To whom might Romney owe favors? Goldman Sachs not only wrote his 2008 campaign a $2 million loan but its executives have donated more than $1 million to his two presidential campaigns and his federal PAC since 2008, according to a McClatchy analysis of data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The same committees collected over $650,000 from Bain Capital and its predecessor firm, Bain & Co.

Those are among a dozen major banks, hedge funds and private equity firms, some of which share a strong interest in preserving a special 15 percent tax rate on much of their income, that have given Romney's federal committees over $4 million.

Those donations, however, are outstripped by those arriving at the super PAC Restore Our Future, which collected $1 million each from at least 10 donors or couples, including New York hedge fund figures John Paulson, Paul Singer and Julian Robertson, and Romney's former Bain colleague Edward Conard, as well as Bain Capital Partner Paul Edgerly and his wife, Sandra….


Romney's big money man is hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a major supporter of "gay" organizations and huge force behind recent passage of NY's "gay marriage" bill. "He's determined to put a candidate who shares his views back in the White House." Here are the radical groups Singer has given over $5 million to.

In Romney's Super PAC, the Hedge Fund Mavens Come Out to Play, ABC News, 2/2/2012 – on where "Restore Our Future" is getting the big bucks. One of top donors: Paul Singer, lead financier of the drive for "gay marriage" in New York.

Close Ties to Goldman Enrich Romney’s Public and Private Lives, New York Times, 1/27/2012.

Romney's quest for White House began years ago, costing $200 million,” Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, 3/4/2012

Bain execs spent nearly $5 million on Romney's White House runs, i-Watch News, 2/7/2012. 

Romney's fundraisers quietly amassing millions, APNews.MyWay.com.  "A review by The Associated Press of campaign records and other documents reveals hints about the vast national network of business leaders bringing in millions to elect Romney."

Idaho billionaire backs Romney, Idaho Statesman, 2/2/2012, 3/27/2012. 

Romney, long-time board member at Marriott Hotels, profited from hotel room porn sales. (See WorldNetDaily.) Members of the Marriott clan are big donors to his campaign.
Should Romney give back money Marriott made in part from PPV hotel room porn? Video, The Young Turks, 3/28/2012. On hotel porn, Romney stated in 2007: “I am not pursuing an effort to try and stop adults from being able to acquire or see things that I find objectionable; that’s their right. But I do vehemently oppose practices or business procedures that will allow kids to be exposed to obscenity.”

Lucrative connections cemented during the 2002 Olympics: Romney Olympic ties helped him reap campaign funds, Boston Globe, 6/28/2007. See also The $1.3 billion Olympics ripoff of taxpayers – video from DNC. Includes John McCain's criticism of spending: "an incredible pork-barrel project for Salt Lake City and its environs... a rip-off of the taxpayers ... it's really a national disgrace."

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