A group backing Republican John Kasich‘s presidential aspirations received $500,000 in seed money from a seemingly odd source, according to documents filed today: an obscure limited liability company in Montana.
But a Center for Public Integrity review of business filings indicates the company is linked to someone quite familiar to Kasich, the current governor of Ohio — a venture capitalist who served in Kasich’s administration.
The limited liability company, called MMWP12 LLC, made a half-million-dollar donation to the pro-Kasich New Day Independent Media Committee the day after the company formed.
Making matters murkier: MMWP12 LLC is actually controlled by another Montana-based company called K2M LLC, according to state business records.
This second company lists just two officers: Mark Kvamme, the Ohio venture capitalist and former Kasich administration official, and Paul Johannsen, a real estate developer in Whitefish, Montana, near Glacier National Park.
Some campaign finance reform advocates worry that limited liability companies can serve as vehicles for megadonors to inject big bucks to political efforts while hiding their identities from voters.
That’s because some states, unlike Montana, don’t require LLCs to identify the living, breathing people who own or control them. Instead, they need to provide only the name of a “registered agent,” which is often a company that exists only to serve as the registered agents for LLCs.
Little is publicly known about Johannsen’s political leanings, but Kvamme is a long-time Kasich ally.