The Washington Times - July 21, 2012, 09:03PM

Nearly 200 companies gave $8.6 million to super PACs in June, far more than in any month this year, a Washington Times analysis of new federal records showed. The total includes many repeat givers who have given a total of $18 million, and almost all in June came from 40 companies giving $50,000 or more.

They included the rare publicly-traded company, with the company behind Miracle-Gro fertilizer giving $200,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Mitt Romney PAC run by former campaign aides. Publicly-traded companies have almost always shied away from political advocacy for fear of alienating customers and shareholders.

SEE RELATED:


But for many of the firms exercising their newfound rights, the donations seemed more an effort at hiding the individuals behind them than well-known corporations performing civic speech.

Five different companies sharing an address in The Villages, Florida, including SCD Investments and GTMJ Investment Group, gave $350,000 to Restore Our Future in June. The address is linked to H. Gary and Renee Morse, billionaire developers.

Three different limited liability companies operating out of the same post office box in Dayton, Ohio gave $1 million to American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-linked Republican advocacy group: Waterbury Properties, Fairbanks Properties, and CRC Information Systems. The month prior, those same three companies gave $1 million to Restore Our Future. Corporate records indicate the companies are connected to Reynolds and Reynolds, a software company, and its CEO Robert T. Brockman.

The totals also include transfers from nonprofit groups, which don’t disclose donors, to affiliated super PACs, though that was less common in June.

On June 14, for example, the Service Employees Internation Union transferred $550,000 from its general fund to its super PAC. In January, the Cooperative of American Physicians transferred $1.2 million to its super PAC.

Super PACs, which stem from the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, can accept money from any source and spend it with little restrictions, except for a ban on coordinating directly with or giving to candidates.

More than 600 super PACs have been created, but the vast majority never use their legal powers.

Some super PACs that have faded from the public eye are still maintaining bank accounts, however. Winning Our Future, the super PAC run by longtime Newt Gingrich aides, is still paying its top aides some $20,000 monthly, records filed Friday showed.