Herman Cain’s presidential campaign has taken heat for relying on a private corporation to pay for a plethora of campaign services, potentially in violation of federal campaign finance law. According to documents obtained by Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cain chief of staff Mark Block set up a company called Prosperity USA and used it to pay for “tens of thousands of dollars in [campaign] expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas.”
In the New York Times today, another look at the documents obtained by Bice shows that the corporation is financially linked to Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group financed by the billionaire petrochemical brothers David and Charles Koch. Prosperity USA might even still owe money to the Koch groups:
The internal documents appear to show that Prosperity USA received money from or was owed money by several conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity chapters in Florida and Oklahoma. One amount, $5,000, includes the memo line “Herman Cain attended at request of AFP.”
Mr. Cain headlined an Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma event in October 2010.
The group also paid for Mr. Block to fly to Washington to meet with David Koch and Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity.
At the CNN Las Vegas debate last month, ThinkProgress attempted to ask Block about his ties to the Koch brothers. Block, who headed the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity through the 2010 election cycle, refused to speak with us. “I know you guys, no comment,” said Block, apparently referencing ThinkProgress’ work in first reporting the Koch network’s role in helping to organize the Tea Party and our subsequent investigations into the Koch’s business and political empire.
As Scott Keyes first detailed for ThinkProgress, Cain has long served as a loyal ally of the Koch network. Cain attends the secret Koch fundraising meetings, regularly speaks at Koch events, and relies heavily on the Koch network of political operatives. In an interview with Keyes from earlier this year, Cain sung the Koch brothers’ praises, calling the pair “patriots.” “I’m very proud of the relationship that I have with the Koch Brothers,” he told CNN last month. Given the alleged financing of the Cain presidential campaign by Koch groups like Americans for Prosperity, the feeling appears to be mutual.