By Justin Elliott

Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding For Republican Dark Money Group

February 14, 2013 12:37 pm Category: Memo Pad 16 Comments A+ / A-
Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding For Republican Dark Money Group

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica.

Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights.

Like the nonprofit groups that poured money into last year’s elections, the decade-old State Government Leadership Foundation has been able to keep the identities of its funders secret. Until now.

A records request by ProPublica to the IRS turned up a list of the original funders of the group: Exxon, Pfizer, Time Warner, and other corporations put up at least 85 percent of the $1.3 million the foundation raised in the first year and a half of its existence, starting in 2003.

The donor list is stamped “not for public disclosure,” and was submitted to the IRS as part of the foundation’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status. If approved, such applications are public records.

The foundation and other similar nonprofits are allowed to take anonymous and unlimited donations from individuals or corporations. That’s because they are classified as “social welfare” nonprofits, which are supposed to benefit the community at large, and not just one group or political party.

Last year, we reported how the State Government Leadership Foundation paid for Republican redistricting consultants to draw new congressional district maps in North Carolina. The resulting gerrymander helped flip the state’s congressional delegation to Republicans.

In recent years, the SGLF has also funded TV ads targeting Democrats during the 2011 Wisconsin showdown over collective bargaining rights; attacking President Obama in Virginia over his energy policy; and accusing teachers’ unions of “destroying our children’s future.”

The group also gave $1.25 million in 2011 to the Indiana Opportunity Fund, a state-level nonprofit that ran anti-union ads featuring Republican governor Mitch Daniels. (That group was founded by attorney Jim Bopp, who has long fought against campaign finance regulation.)

The single-biggest early donor to the foundation was the now-defunct mortgage lender Ameriquest, which gave more than $260,000. (We contacted a number of the companies on the list; they did not respond to requests for comment.) Corporate trade associations including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Edison Electric Institute, and the American Tort Reform Association also pitched in, each giving between $50,000 and $100,000.

The foundation’s affiliated organization, the Republican State Leadership Committee, focuses on winning state-level elections for the GOP and also gets corporate money, including from tobacco and insurance giants.  As an explicitly political organization, the committee has to disclose its donors.

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Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding For Republican Dark Money Group Reviewed by on . by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Some of the nation's biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to pl by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Some of the nation's biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to pl Rating:

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Comments

  • FredAppell

    For all of you who worry about the specter of big government, you need to wake up and realize who your real enemy is. I admit that we have to do away with all the waste and corruption,
    it is a major problem and an unneeded expense on the rest of us. But if we don’t turn the tables on corporate donations then we will likely have our Democracy stolen right out from underneath us.

    Let’s face facts here, we can always change the politicians but we need to fight against the culture that allows “Big Money” to influence the way Washington operates and it is worth noting that this is also going on at the state, county and city levels as well by BOTH party’s. There is a reason why these donors want to remain anonymous. Think about
    it, it may be legal but it’s also immoral.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.plompen Joe Plompen

      The solution is not necessarily corporation’s by it self’s,we should take all senators and congressmen that are on the take from these corporate’s,not only put them in jail but strip them of all their Tax Payer’s Benefits. Guess what, it could close Washington down until such a time we put a government in place that works for the people that put them there.These same people in our governmental capacity employ several people to do their job,I do not believe they where on our voting ballot?I LIKE WHAT DOMINICK VILA SAID VERY MUCH.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    The only ones that will benefit from this corporate largesse, besides Karl Rove, is the media that will make tens of millions of dollars in advertisement. Interestingly, the corporations making these donations are some of the largest recipients of subsidies paid for by us, the taxpayers. I think we should not only stop those subsidies to oil companies and pharmaceuticals, but demand reimbursement with interests for wasting money, purportedly, intended to help them overcome tremendous challenges known only to them.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6DFUSDY3S5LNFGXL4DCLDNLAJY al s

    What about all the numerous dirty tricks the socialist Democrats did to steal the election. Paying for votes, black panthers harrassing people at the polls, bussing illegals to the polls, the list goes on & on.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

      No illegals voted in this past election or any election, they know that will get them deported faster than holding up a store will, the only people bussed to the polls were registered voter that didn’t have transportation to the polls. The Bush adminstration’s Justice department said that there was no case against the Black panthers. As for trying to steal this last election, No Democrats have been charged with voter fraud but Republicans in 4 Republican controlled states have been charged with pre voter fraud and some have already been tried and sent to prison and others are waiting to go to trial. So what tricks have the Democrats been charged with in any state especially in the Republican controlled states, none, just your party the Republican party was charged with dirty tricks in any of the 50 states and American territories. Stop watching Fox not News and listening to Beck and Limbaugh to learn who the crooks in this last election was and it wasn’t the Democrats.

      • latebloomingrandma

        I just love how this “black panther” nonsense is trotted out. It amounted to 3 angry black guys outside a polling place. Big whoop. I have more than 3 angry white guys just in my immediate family.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      You need to stop watching the Faux News lies and distortion network. As Hillbilly mentioned, the only party that’s gotten nailed for outright voter fraud is the GOP. And despite it’s countless efforts to surpress voting – it lost not only the presidential election but also several governorships. And they would have lost the House of Reps had they not gerrymandered the districts – they lost the popular vote for the House by over a million votes. Better get your head out of the sand and realize that it’s only the American Mafia, aka the GOP, that can’t win ANYTHING except by lies and deciet!!

    • whodatbob

      al s,
      You need to grab your right ear with your right hand and your left ear with your left hand and pull! THe next sound you will hear is a loud pop. That’s your head comming out of your ass!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

        I doubt that the strongest laxative could make that happen!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

      Your puerility is exceeded only by your ignorance.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

    I think that crooks from both parties along with thier corporate nazi sponsors need to have a close encounter with a tar pot and a pile of feathers. Damn thier sorry asses for the low-life,self serving,money grubbing scum bags they are. I would like to get my hands on one of them and see how long it takes for them to die.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4FWDOYB2YY4ORNTZ2UW5CSWXQ fidel

    This Group is The Real Enemy for The Real American People,This Group, they Not has Country,They are Everywhere ,are The Partner from all terrorist Group from the Middle East,and Partner from Lord Cartel Drugs .For That Reason,They non care ,where waste the Money.They can Bought The GOP ,But not The Mind and Intelligence From The Real American People,Now we Know ,who The ENEMY IS.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

    We really all need to breathe a sigh of relief that Mitt Romney was not elected. Had he been, America would have become the first country on the planet run by corporations. Mitt would have been nothing but a corporate figurehead set up to do the bidding of all these big companies. He got the wheels started at one of his last corporate fund raisers when he suggested to some of the CEOs that they should be putting a little pressure on their employees by letting them know that if Obama got reelected that they may lose their jobs. And darn if several CEOs didn’t take him up on it – the Koch Bros, along with the CEOs of GE, BofA and some others did just that – they intimidated their employees by saying that if Romney didn’t get elected they may be laid off. And that would just have been the beginning if Romney had gotten elected – every election, companies would have been weighing in with whatever influence they had to see that people favorable to them would have gotten elected. Who would really liked to have seen America run by corporations???

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJIWONQOW4EAYMCA4QH2DDJMBU MARK

      Corporations! By the way,that is called fascism.Imagine having a fascist government in a country where an entire generation fought in WW2 to rid the world of fascism.Not only would it be an abomination but it would be a disgrace to every one who were part of the Allies.

  • nobsartist

    Of course they did. Why else do you think they were not investigated for conspiring to ruin the economy?

    The banks started it and the corporations used the excuse to break the unions and lower American workers pay to that of the Chinese.

    Welcome to the third world.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZEDCQ4URHFFCKH5THB4DT3G54M Brian

    Hit them where it hurts–in the wallet. Boycott Exxon, Time-Warner, et al. Watch their behavior change when the bottom line comes into play.

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