American Future Fund: No election, little cash

Koch brothers-backed nonprofit's income plummeted in 2013 after massive haul in 2012

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Revenue at Koch brothers-backed nonprofit American Future Fund took a massive dive during 2013, according to new tax filings reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity.

The group’s cash flow fell from $67.9 million in 2012, when it spent about $20 million overtly advocating for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and against President Barack Obama, to less than $6.4 million in 2013, a non-election year..

This continues a trend for American Future Fund, one of several politically active nonprofits with ties to the Koch brothers, which now typically reports far less revenue in non-election years.

About one third of the money American Future Fund received in 2013 came from two large contributors, one who gave $1.25 million and one who gave $1 million, according to the tax filing.

As a “social welfare” nonprofit organized under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code, American Future Fund is not required to disclose the identities of its donors, but must itemize contributions of $5,000 or more on its tax filing.

The itemized contributions total nearly $4.7 million. The source of the rest of American Future Fund’s 2013 revenue isn’t clear, and the organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Center for Public Integrity.

In terms of expenses, American Future Fund in 2013 reported $7 million in spending, far less than the $66.9 million it reported in 2012.

The group disclosed paying Concordia Enterprises LLC, the consulting firm of its founder, Nick Ryan, $515,016 in 2013 for “consulting and management services.” It paid Angler LLC, a company tied to a political operative connected to the Koch brothers, Sean Noble, $487,550 for “media services.”

Nonprofits connected to Noble, including the Center to Protect Patient Rights, have made grants to the American Future Fund. In addition, American Future Fund paid $80,000 to a fundraising firm connected to its treasurer/secretary, Allison Kleis, who is one of only two board members.

The American Future Fund reported making only four grants in 2013, including $294,000 to the Progress Project, another group run by Concordia Enterprises LLC that has received money from the American Future Fund in the past.

It also gave $120,000 to the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, another section 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that ran ads attacking incumbent Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, a Republican, during the 2014 election cycle.

During the 2014 election cycle, the American Future Fund reported spending about $2.5 million to influence congressional elections, including more than $1 million against Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), who lost, according to campaign finance data tracked by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The group also spent more than $360,000 on broadcast TV ads to boost Republican candidates in the Nebraska gubernatorial and Arkansas attorney general contests this cycle.

A full accounting of the American Future Fund’s 2014 income and expenditures likely won’t be available for another year, when it files its next annual tax return.

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