Nine donations of $1 million each headline the latest donor disclosure for Mitt Romney's Restoring our Future super PAC. Leading the way were two $1 million dollar chunks linked to a Nu Skin founder. The list was submitted Tuesday night after Romney had given his Florida victory speech and just before the midnight filing deadline.
On Sunday, we covered the rise of the super PAC phenomenon, emphasizing how efforts to control money without undermining free speech had perversely driven money into a free-fire zone lying outside candidate and party control.
Now T.W. Farnum in The Washington Post lays out the names and numbers for the past six months. Of the $17.9 million raised by the pro-Romney PAC in the past six months, nine donations came in chunks of $1 million each. Several of these coming from east coast investors, including hedge fund managers.
Two of the seven-figure donations were from two companies in Provo: F8 LLC and Eli Publishing. A Washington Post article from September has already done the work on unpacking these, as both entities made identical donations. According to the Post, Eli Publishing is a company owned by Steve Lund, who is an executive at Nuskin, a multi-level marketing company based in Provo.
F8 LLC, meanwhile, is a company which lists as its agent Jeremy Blickenstaff, who the Post says is Lund's son-in-law, and the owner of Blickenstaff's toy store in Provo. The Post logically concludes that both donations are in actuality from Steve Lund. This is the second time that the Lund-linked entities gave $1 million each to Restore our Future, having done the same in the first half of the year.
The other seven million-dollar donors are ...
Other large donors to Restore our Future included Bill Koch, one of the famous Koch brothers, a libertarian philanthropist and oil tycoon. His donation was split between $250,000 given personally and $750,000 from Oxbow Carbon, one of his companies.
Also of note are four $250,000 donations from subsidiaries of a company founded by Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho multi-level marketing businessman.
The donations by Koch and VanderSloot make them $1 million donors, too.
Many of these donations highlight a curious pattern, namely the use of corporate facades to hide individual donations. In fact, it is hard to find any real corporate fingerprints in this list. Nearly all seemingly corporate donations can be broken down to an individual behind them.
As all this does is drag out the game of deduction and create an aura of shadiness around it, one has to question of the point of the subterfuge.
Eric Schulzke writes on national politics for the Deseret News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.