Wellspring Committee

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The Wellspring Committee is a 501(c)(4) organization operating out of Manassas, VA. The Wellspring Committee was founded in 2008, and serves as a fund for conservative political nonprofit groups.[1] The Wellspring Committee contributed funding to several nonprofits that created ads for Republican candidates and causes in the 2010 and 2012 elections.[1] However, because the Wellspring Committee did not fund the ads directly, their IRS application maintains the Wellspring Committee is not engaged in, "political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office."[1]

501(c)(4) Status

As a 501(c)(4) organization, the Wellspring Committee is not required to disclose its donors. The group's tax status allows them to be "part of a network of conservative tax-exempt groups that do little but transfer money, via grants, to other groups closer to the political front lines."[1]

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wellspring is "little more than [a] UPS mailbox," and was created because:

"For donors especially concerned with protecting their anonymity, the bounce pass -- writing a check to a non-disclosing group that'll turn around and give the funds to another non-disclosing group -- can seem attractive. IRS rules prevent the public disclosure of donors to a group like, say, the Faith and Freedom Coalition -- which spent $216,441 on ads in the 2010 election, and $570,744 in 2012, FEC reports show. But why not layer in more protection? That way, if a group is ever forced to say where its money came from -- and there are lawsuits, pending legislation and an array of state attorneys general trying to make that happen -- it will only have to cite the name of other, similarly protected groups. Like Wellspring -- which, as it happens, has given $250,000 to Faith and Freedom.[1]

Wellspring's "recipient groups spent about $60 million in the 2010 election cycle, and more than double during the 2012 cycle."[1] A significant portion of that money has also been used to fund State Supreme Court campaigns throughout the U.S.[1]

Finances

Contributors and Membership

According to National Public Radio and the Center for Responsive politics, the Wellspring Committee thus far "has raised $24 million, and distributed nearly $16.9 million to other social welfare groups."[2] Of the $24 million the group has received, only $251,000 has been traced back to identifiable donors; the American Democracy Alliance gave $150,000, Founding Principles PAC gave $1,026 and Rosebush Corp. gave $100,000.[1]

Distribution of Grants and Other Financial Assistance

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the following organizations received assistance from the Wellspring Committee between the years 2008 and 2011:

Personnel

  • John Klink - Director
Klink also serves as Consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Family (2004-present) and President of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC). He has also served on the executive boards for Unicef and the U.N.'s children's fund. In 2001, Klink was a member of the Republican National Committee's Catholic Task Force and an adviser to President George W. Bush. During that time Klink, "advocated against the use of condoms and oral contraceptive pills."[4] [5]
  • Ann Corkery - Director, President
Corkery also worked as "co-chair of the National Women for Mitt Finance Committee." In "2003, she was appointed by President Bush to be a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, where she fought for a ban on human cloning; he also made her a delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women."[1] Currently, Corkery works for the Security National Servicing Corporation as "Director of Philanthropy", and is involved with several political groups.[6] She has served on the board or acted as an officer for: the Catholic League, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Judicial Crisis Network.[1] She and her husband Neil Corkery, are known for their "significant political contributors to Republican social conservative candidates" including former Senator Rick Santorum.[7]


  • Steve Wagner - Director, Secretary, Treasurer

Articles and References

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Viveca Novak, Robert Maguire and Peter Overby,Wellspring's Flow: Dark Money Outfit Helped Fuel Groups on Political Front Lines, Opensecrets, November 5, 2013.
  2. Peter Overby, Viveca Novak, Robert Maguire Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous, NPR.org, November 6, 2013.
  3. Wellspring Committee, Wellspring Committee Information, Opensecrets, accessed November 6,2013.
  4. Pacific Coast Business Times Staff $22M Bankruptcy Spotlights Montecito, Pacific Coast Business Times, September 14, 2009.
  5. O'Meara, Ferguson, Whelan and Conway, John M. Klink, Consultant Biography, Official Website, accessed November 6, 2013.
  6. KaroliWellspring Committee: Conduit for Reaganite Religious Righties Crooks and Liars, January 15, 2013
  7. Human Rights Campaign Neil and Ann Corkery, Official Website, accessed November 6, 2013.