Conservative columnists’ anti-Obama ads backed by unknown donors


The super PAC run by conservative columnists Michael Reagan and Dick Morris is dropping last-minute money on series of ads against President Barack Obama, and the vast majority of the donors are unknown.

Super PAC for America had only $16,000 in the bank at the end of September. But it’s been infused with cash the second half of this month – and the sources of that bounty will be unknown to the public until December. That's because donations made after Oct. 17 don't have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission until after the election. 

Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, is the super PAC’s chairman. Morris, the group's strategic advisor, was a key political advisor to former President Bill Clinton before they had a falling out over Morris' relationship with a prostitute. Now the one-time Democratic pollster is a columnist at and frequent Fox News contributor. He used email list of Newsmax, a conservative site, on Monday to ask readers to donate to the super PAC, the liberal website Media Matters pointed out.

Super PAC for America has dropped $400,000 in the past 10 days, including ads in the Columbus, Ohio market. One ad ran from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28 at Columbus’s ABC affiliate at a cost of $45,000, according to Sunlight’s database of political ad schedules aggregated from the Federal Communications Commission. It has also spent about $56,000 to run 20 60-second spots at Pittsburgh, Pa.'s WPXI from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. During that same period, it is running 37 30-second spots at CBS in Harrisburg, Pa. at a cost of about $23,000.

It’s unclear where the rest of the ads are airing (only major network affiliates in the top 50 media markets have to post their political ad buys online with the FCC). An email to the group has not been returned.

Unlike many other super PACs and nonprofits that have popped up at the 11th hour, Super PAC for America is not new. It spent $1.6 million supporting House Republicans and criticizing Democrats in the 2010 mid-term elections.

But in this campaign cycle, the committee has not been on the air until its recent spree. It did receive a big donation in January from the League of American Voters, a 501(c) nonprofit that does not have to report its donors, but the $500,000 was quickly refunded when the super PAC canceled an ad buy.

League of American Voters is also linked to Morris and Reagan. Morris appears in a fundraising video for the League on its website and its former executive director called him its chief strategist. Reagan is the group’s chairman. The group seems focused on criticizing Obama’s health care plan, and Reagan calls it a “blatant attempt to socialize our health care system and kill off private insurance.

The ad that ran in Columbus is called “Four More Years,” and shows a running list of negative statistics about the economy and government spending during Obama’s term, BloombergBusinessweek reported. The group has made two other ads, one of which (seen below) centers on the oft-repeated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan claim that Obama’s healthcare law cuts Medicare by $716 billion, a misleading attack because the law reduces Medicare spending by that amount, not benefits to seniors.

Emails to Morris and the League of American Voters have not been returned at the time of posting.

Updated: 11:27 a.m.