Nine Republican senators have now steered a combined $125,000 to a big-spending conservative nonprofit that defended one of their colleagues following a contentious gun vote earlier this year, a Center for Public Integrity review of Federal Election Commission filings has found.
Recently filed campaign finance reports show $20,000 in previously unknown contributions flowed to the Iowa-based American Future Fund, which ran $1.3 million worth of television advertisements defending Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., after she faced backlash for voting in April against enhanced background checks for firearms purchases.
The Center for Public Integrity had previously reported that at least six leadership PACs controlled by GOP senators donated $105,000 to the American Future Fund earlier this year — a highly atypical move.
New records show that the leadership PAC of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., gave the American Future Fund $10,000 in May, while the political action committees of Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, each chipped in $5,000.
Of the nine identified donors, the leadership PACs of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, provided the largest contributions to the American Future Fund, each giving $30,000.
The contributions from the Republican leadership PACs came shortly before or after the launch of the American Future Fund’s pro-Ayotte ad campaign.
These contributions provide a small window into the funding of the American Future Fund, which as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization is not required to publicly disclose its donors.
Representatives of the American Future Fund, which spent more than $29 million on political ads during the 2012 elections, could not immediately be reached for comment.