Citizens for a Working America PAC, a political organization that's spent $250,000 to oppose the reelection of Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., discloses its contributions to the Federal Election Commission. Its contributor (it has only one) is New Models, a Virginia-based non-profit organized under section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code, that doesn't disclose its donors.
Call it another wrinkle in the wide open world of 2010 money in politics: Disclosed donors can be anonymous too.
Citizens for a Working America PAC filed a statement of organization with the FEC on Sept. 2, 2010; about a month and a half later, they disclosed a $255,000 contribution from New Models, which describes itself as,
"…a 501c4 organization that seeks to identify the issues of the day, what messages if any the American people are hearing on those issues, ways in which issues impact views about lawmakers and policy, and what communications are most effective on key issues. New Models participates in public awareness of issues that are important to our right of center beliefs. [. . .] New Models does not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate."
According to records kept by the Virginia Secretary of State, the president and treasurer of New Models is Tim Crawford. According to reports published earlier this year, Crawford was also involved in a shadowy political advertising campaign in Ohio. His firm was the sole funder of a $1.5 million anti-slot machine campaign. People involved in the case in Ohio charged that New Models was a front organization bankrolling the political agendas of certain powerful players.
Crawford is also listed as the treasurer of Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee, SarahPAC. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, SarahPAC made a $3,500 contribution to Republican candidate Mick Mulvaney–who's running against Spratt in South Carolina.
Including Citizens for a Working America PAC, Spratt has been targeted by seven outside groups. Club for Growth, an organization that's supported Tea Party candidates, has spent $209,000 opposing the South Carolinian Democrat. According to TransparencyData.com, the group has also contributed $1,000.00 to Mulvaney.
Mulvaney is also a recipient of $2,000 from Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who has supported Tea Party-backed candidates.
Sen. DeMint has not only contributed to help Mulvaney win along with Club for Growth and SarahPAC, but has received money for his own campaign from those groups as well. Club for Growth is DeMint’s top contributor giving him almost $150,000 since 2005. He's received $2,500 from SarahPAC.
To date, $1.6 million has been spent to oppose Spratt’s bid for re-election. Citizens for a Working America has spent $250,000.
Representative Spratt is just one of the 407 political hopefuls across the country who have had outside money affect their chances of winning a seat in one of the 472 political offices available. Last week, outside spending to influence political campaigns officially exceeded the $200 million mark. Also, according to analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, outside groups are spending more money this election cycle than political committees such as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (RNCC). The change is a dramatic shift compared to elections past.