The American Prospect: When Super PACs Go Dark: LLCs Fuel Secret Spending

Eliza Newlin Carney
Feb 26, 2016
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“The supposed transparency of super PACs is completely undermined to the extent that they receive untraceable contributions from LLCs and other business entities,” says Paul S. Ryan, deputy executive director of the Campaign Legal Center (CLC).

The CLC and another watchdog group, Democracy 21, filed two complaints Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging that six- and seven-figure donors funneled money through secretive shell corporations to separate super PACs backing Florida Senator and GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democrat. The complaints come on the heels of similar calls for an FEC investigation filed by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, naming the same two LLCs that funneled big money to the super PACs backing Rubio and Fulop...

The LLCs named in Wednesday’s FEC complaint were singled out because they offered among the most brazen examples of how LLCs function as thinly-disguised shell corporations set up for purely political purposes, says Ryan. The first complaint involves an LLC known as DE First Holdings that donated $1 million to a pro-Fulop super PAC dubbed the Coalition for Progress within 24 hours after DE First Holdings LLC came into existence.

“That, to me, is a red flag,” says Ryan. “Because it is unlikely that this business entity could have generated $1 million of its own revenue in a day.”

The second complaint involves $500,000 donated by another mysterious corporation, the obscurely-named IGX LLC, to a pro-Rubio super PAC known as Conservative Solutions. An AP investigation identified the company’s owner as Brooklyn investor Andrew Duncan, who told the wire service that he “had used IGX to mask the donation because he was worried about reprisals.” As Ryan notes: “That seems to be an admission of a violation of federal law.”

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