Pro-Romney group confirms identity of mystery donor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pro-Mitt Romney political action committee Restore Our Future confirmed on Monday the identity of a donor whose mysterious million dollar gift sparked a furor over 2012 presidential campaign finance transparency.
The donor identified himself to media as Ed Conard, a former top executive for private-equity firm Bain Capital, in order to "put an end to the supposed controversy," spokesperson Brittany Gross said on Monday.
"We have no comment as to whether he will continue to be involved as we are not commenting on future strategy," Gross added in an email. "Restore our Future will amend our report per Mr. Conard's request to reflect him as the donor."
Gross said the group would correct its report to the FEC which originally represented Conard as W. Spann LLC, a corporation that formed in March, donated $1 million to Restore Our Future in April, then dissolved in July shortly before campaign finance reporting deadlines.
The recipient Restore Our Future, a super PAC formed by three former aides to Romney, reported having pulled in over $12.23 million as of June 30 in its mid-year report filed with the FEC.
Romney leads the Republican cash race, having raised over $18 million by the end of June for his campaign to win his party's nomination and face President Barack Obama in 2012.
Restore Our Future has said its board was made up of Carl Forti of Black Rock Group, Charlie Spies of Clark Hill PLC and Larry McCarthy of McCarthy Hennings Media Inc.
CONARD AND CAPITAL
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, also founded the investment firm Bain Capital where Conard served as managing editor. Romney later returned to his old consulting firm Bain & Company and served as CEO, according to "About Mitt" on Romney's campaign website.
A source familiar with the situation who declined to be named confirmed that Conard worked for Bain Capital from 1993 until his retirement in 2007. Of reports that Conard retained an office at Bain's New York headquarters, he explained that the firm offers offices on request as a courtesy to retired partners, saying, "That's the situation here."
The source declined to comment on Conard's current involvement with Bain Capital, founded by Romney in 1984 and now managing some $65 billion in assets under management, according to Bain's website.
Gross said Restore Our Future would not comment further than the statement that had been issued when Conard identified himself to media on Friday night.
Conard emerged after campaign finance watchdogs Democracy 21 and The Campaign Legal Center filed complaints on Friday with the FEC and Department of Justice to investigate the $1 million donation from a corporation that no longer existed.
Romney representatives said Friday in an e-mailed statement that Restore Our Future was independent of the campaign.
Romney lost a presidential bid in 2008 but is the front-runner to face Obama, who has reported raising $86 million in campaign funds.
(Editing by Jerry Norton and Cynthia Johnston)
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