Mysterious $1 million donor to pro-Romney PAC comes forward

Holly Bailey

The donor behind a mysterious $1 million contribution to a political action committee supporting Mitt Romney's presidential bid publicly identified himself over the weekend.

Edward Conard--a former executive at Bain Capital, where Romney used to work--admitted he was behind W. Spann LLC, a New York-based company that dissolved shortly after giving $1 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC raising cash to boost Romney's 2012 bid.

In a statement to Politico's Maggie Haberman, Conard, a longtime Romney supporter, said he created the company "after consulting prominent legal counsel" and insisted he was within the law by using the LLC as a vehicle to contribute to the pro-Romney PAC.

"To address questions raised by the media concerning the contribution, I will request that Restore Our Future PAC amend its public reports to disclose me as the donor associated with this contribution," Conard said.

In a statement, the group said it would comply with Conard's wishes.

It remains unclear why the former Bain executive didn't contribute under his own name. According to Federal Election Commission records, Conard and his wife, Jill, each gave $2,500 to Romney's presidential campaign in May--just three weeks after his $1 million contribution to Restore Our Future. During the 2010 campaign, Conard gave $73,000 to Romney's state and federal PACs--making him one of the former Massachusetts governor's biggest donors.

Under campaign finance law, Restore Our Future is allowed to raise unlimited and unregulated contributions to support Romney's presidential campaign--so long as it doesn't directly coordinate with the candidate. So far, the committee has raised $12.2 million to support Romney's White House bid.

Conard's decision to come forward comes after three watchdog groups filed complaints Friday urging state and federal officials to investigate the mysterious donation.