Limited liability companies power West Virginia super PAC

‘Freedom Frontier Action Network’ supports Republican Alex Mooney

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In the final stretch of the seven-way GOP primary in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, a super PAC called the “Freedom Frontier Action Network” has spent more than $80,000 on mailings touting Republican Alex Mooney.

And new campaign finance reports reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity show that three limited liability companies account for nearly all of the money the pro-Mooney group raised through late April.

Since super PACs sprang to life following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, corporate super PAC contributions have been relatively rare, with most large donations coming instead from wealthy individuals, who must disclose their contributions.

But federal law allows companies — including certain nonprofits and LLCs — to donate to super PACs, though they need not identify their officers by name.

Two direct mail fundraising firms that typically work with Republicans account for the bulk of the Freedom Frontier Action Network’s receipts.

Georgia-based Capitol Hill Lists LLC contributed $50,000 to the Freedom Frontier Action Network in April, while Virginia-based HSP Direct LLC gave $25,000, records show.

Meanwhile, a third limited liability company — called Boston Holding Co. LLC — contributed $15,000.

Who’s behind Boston Holding Co. LLC?

It’s not immediately clear from Freedom Frontier’s filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The super PAC lists Boston Holding Co. LLC at a Boston address, but there is no company registered in Massachusetts with that name, according to state business records. Furthermore, an employee at the management office of the building listed on the FEC filing told the Center for Public Integrity that there was no such tenant at that address.

There is, however, a Florida-based limited liability company with the same name — and corporate documents list Leo Govoni, a financial services industry veteran, as its managing member.

In February, the Florida-based Boston Holding Co. LLC contributed $100,000 to American Crossroads, the pro-GOP super PAC co-founded by strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

Govoni himself donated the legal maximum of $2,600 to Mooney last year, FEC records show.

The Freedom Frontier Action Network was created in 2011, although it was essentially dormant during the 2012 election cycle. It lists its treasurer as J. Scott Bensing, a former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee who once served as chief of staff to Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.

Neither Bensign nor Govoni responded to requests for comment, nor did officials at Capitol Hill Lists LLC or HSP Direct LLC.

Mooney, the former chairman of the Maryland GOP, has raised more money than any other candidate — more than $590,000 — in his bid to become the GOP nominee in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. There, several Republicans are vying to replace Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican who is now running for U.S. Senate.

Also in the mix are pharmacist Ken Reed, who has raised more than $560,000, and former U.S. Trade Rep. Charlotte Lane, who has raised about $350,000. Both Reed and Lane have made six-figure loans to their own campaigns, with Reed self-funding to the tune of $525,000 and Lane loaning her campaign $150,000.

The presumptive Democratic nominee in the race is former state party chairman Nick Casey, who has raised more than $890,000, including $200,000 in personal loans to the campaign and another $100,000 out of his own pocket.

The primary is Tuesday.