Restore Our Future

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Restore Our Future is a Super PAC created to support Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election.

The organization is permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of campaign contributions under the terms of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.[1]

Restore Our Future was founded by Romney aides in 2010.[2] Charles Spies, the group's treasurer and former general counsel for Romney's 2008 campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, described Restore Our Future as "an independent effort focused on getting Romney elected president."[1] The group reported raising over $12 million in the first half of 2011, in the form of large donations from approximately 90 wealthy individuals and corporations.[3] Spies declined to discuss specific contributors to the PAC.[4] As of September 18th, 2012, the group has raised $90 million dollars and spent almost $70 million influencing the 2012 election. [5]

Contributors

The largest single contributors to Restore Our Future are Sheldon Adelson, and his wife Miriam Adelson, who together have donated $10 million to the superPAC as of August 27th, 2012. [6] Prior to Adelson's donation, the largest individual contributor to Restore Our Future was John Paulson, a billionaire and hedge fund manager who is, according to Politico, "famous for [having enriched] himself by betting on the collapse of the housing industry."[3]

An additional million dollars came from W Spann LLC, a corporation with no record of actual business activities.[7] W Spann LLC was incorporated, donated to the PAC, and then dissolved in a matter of months,[8][9] attracting concerns from election-watchdog groups and campaign-finance experts about the use of dummy corporations to shield large campaign contributions from public scrutiny.[7]

Several watchdog groups requested that the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission investigate donations to Restore Our Future from W Spann LLC as possible violations of campaign-finance law.[10] Restore Our Future declined to provide additional details about the donation and asserted that it had complied with existing laws. In response to rumors, a spokesman for Bain Capital, an equity firm previously headed by Romney, stated that W Spann LLC "is not affiliated with Bain Capital or any of our employees."[7] Shortly thereafter, Edward Conard, a former top executive at Bain Capital and longtime Romney supporter, came forward to state that he had formed W Spann LLC and funded and authorized the $1 million contribution.[11] Conard requested that Restore Our Future amend its filings to reflect that he, rather than W Spann LLC, donated the $1 million.[12][13]

Two additional $1 million contributions came from corporations registered to the offices of two executives of Nu Skin Enterprises, a Utah-based multilevel marketing company selling skin-care products and dietary supplements.[3] Other large contributors included members of the Marriott family, hedge-fund managers, and investors in Bain Capital.[3]

Ads run during the General Election

Below is a sampling of some of the organization's TV ads. More can be seen on their YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/RestoreOurFuture

"Kindergarten"


Kindergarten Posits if you had a child who was one when Obama was inaugurated, she'd just be entering kindergarten now. The ad rhetorically asks if her future is getting better under Obama. The ad says under Obama we have had the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression and the "real" unemployment rate is 19%. The $2.2 million ad buy is being aired in Wisconsin and Michigan.[14].

"Debate"


Debate: Compares the record of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, claiming that Romney's job creation record is superior to Obama's. The ad ran in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin from August 21st to 27th, 2012. Restore Our Future paid 10.5 million to run this ad. [15].

"Imagine"


Imagine: A radio ad from July of 2012, one of the first attacks against Obama run by Restore Our Future. The ad asks the listener to consider what they would do if they were president Obama, and concludes that Obama's attacks against Romney's record at Bain Capital are a distraction. The buy for this ad was $1 million, it ran in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.[16]

Ads run during the 2012 Republican Primary

Restore Our Future was a formidable weapon in the Republican presidential primary, in total, the group spent an estimate $40 million dollars attacking other Republicans on Behalf of Romney [17]. Most of the PAC's funding went into defeating Romney's primary challenger, Rick Santorum. Romney and Restore our Future outspent Santorum four to one during the primary. [18] Priorities USA also ran ads attacking Newt Gingrich. Restore our Future has since taken down its attack ads against Gingrich and Santorum.

Iowa Ad

In December, 2011, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post found that a Restore ad attacking Newt Gingrich in Iowa had a number of "egregious fouls" and "underhanded" treatment of Freddie Mac and abortion issues. The PAC had $3 million budgeted for the Iowa television campaign. Brittany Gross, a Restore spokesperson, declined to answer questions from Kessler about the ad.[19]

Personnel and Associates

To design its ads, Restore Our Future frequently employs notorious ad production firm McCarthy Hennings, whose president, Larry McCarthy, produced the "Willie Horton" ad that doomed the 1988 Michael Dukakis campaign. [20]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Eggen, Dan (June 23, 2011). "Romney backers launch 'super PAC' to raise and spend unlimited amounts", The Washington Post. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  2. Mason, Melanie (July 5, 2011). "Pro-Romney 'super PAC' reports $12-million haul", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Martin, Jonathan (July 31, 2011). "PAC brings in $12.2 million for Mitt", Politico. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  4. Schouten, Fredreka (August 4, 2011). "Dozen donors spend big on '12 races", USA Today. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  5. Opensecrets: Restore Our Future Summary, Accessed September 18th, 2012
  6. Opensecrets: Report on Restore Our Future, Accessed August 27th, 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Eggen, Dan (August 4, 2011). "Mystery firm’s $1M donation to pro-Romney PAC raises concern over transparency", Washington Post. Retrieved on August 7, 2011. 
  8. Isikoff, Michael. "Firm gives $1 million to pro-Romney group, then dissolves", msnbc.com. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  9. Confessore, Nicholas (August 4, 2011). "Donation to Romney-Tied Group Draws Scrutiny", The New York Times. Retrieved on August 4, 2011. 
  10. O'Toole, Molly (August 5, 2011). "Watchdogs seek source of money to Romney backer", Reuters. Retrieved on August 7, 2011. 
  11. Gillum, Jack (August 6, 2011). "Mysterious donor to pro-Romney PAC identified", Associated Press. Retrieved on August 7, 2011. 
  12. Burton, Alexander (August 6, 2011). "Mystery Romney backer reveals himself", The Hill. Retrieved on August 7, 2011. 
  13. Haberman, Maggie (August 5, 2011). "Mystery Mitt Romney donor comes forward", Politico. Retrieved on August 7, 2011. 
  14. Luke Johnson: Restore Our Future Ad Attacks Obama Jobs Record, Huffington Post, September 26, 2012.
  15. Elise Foley: Restore Our Future, Pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC, Airs Ad Using Young Girl To Criticize Obama, Huffington Post, August 20th, 2012.
  16. Sabrina Siddiqui : Restore Our Future, Romney SuperPAC, attacks Obama in Radio Ad, Huffington Post, July 27th, 2012.
  17. Opensecrets Profile: Restore Our Future, Accessed September 18th, 2012
  18. Kevin Bohn: Ad Blitz Targets Wisconsin Voters, CNN, April 2nd, 2012
  19. Kessler, Glenn, "Romney versus Gingrich: a Super PAC’s over-the-top ad", Washington Post Fact Checker blog, 12/21/2011 06:02 am ET. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  20. Greg Giroux: Pro-Romney PAC uses Willie Horton Ad Maker to Attack Rivals, Bloomberg News, February 22nd, 2012.