Mother Jones has an investigative piece up that explores whether at least $200,000 of Jeb! Bush’s $103 million Super PAC haul may have been contributed illegally. A company called TH Holdings LLC contributed $100,000 to Jeb!’s Super PAC, Right to Rise, which isn’t all that significant in and of itself. But the LLC seems to be nothing but a shell corporation.
Beyond this six-figure contribution, the company appears to have no history of doing business anywhere. And its incorporation records reveal no owners, managers, or officers.
As far as the public record goes, this looks like a ghost company. So who is behind this contribution?
There are a few clues. In connection with its donation, TH Holdings listed an address in New York City that has also been used by Neuberger Berman, a private investment firm, to register some of its funds. Coincidentally or not, Neuberger Berman's CEO is George Herbert Walker IV, Jeb Bush's second cousin. And Bush himself is a partner in one of the firm's private equity funds.
Oh, family connections—that's a shocker. Although Walker also made a personal $100,000 donation to Right to Rise, he said he had no ties to TH Holdings. So the company is still a complete mystery.
Another $100,000 was contributed by a shadowy Alabama-based company called Heather Oaks LLC. Even less information is known about it because the LLC merged with another company in 2004 and was subsequently dissolved. So yeah, it doesn't exist but it still managed to make a six-figure contribution to Jeb!'s PAC.
A Jeb! spokesperson had no comment about the unusual contributions. While corporations can make unlimited donations to Super PACs without disclosing any donors thanks to the Citizens United ruling, donors can't simply co-opt an entity in order to shield their identity.
"If there is a human behind Heather Oaks LLC, and that human simply routed $100,000 through Heather Oaks to Right to Rise, because the human didn't want his identity known, that's illegal," says Paul Ryan, deputy executive director of the Campaign Legal Center. "But if it's sitting on real estate or other assets or cash—$100,000 or more in cash—and the directors of this LLC decided they want to support Right to Rise, that's not necessarily illegal."
Both Heather Oaks and TH Holdings appear to be classic shell companies—business entities that often have no assets or business operations of their own and exist solely as a conduit for transactions by other companies or individuals.