Washington – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “dark money” group raised $2.4 million in donations in the nearly year-long period from its formation in 2013 until last July 31, according to the organization’s IRS filing.
The group, established in Northern Virginia as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization under the federal tax code, declares its purpose as “educating the public on and advocating for conservative and free-market solutions for the policy problems facing society.”
America Next and its web site serve as a platform for policy proposals by Jindal, who has been identified as its honorary chairman and who is a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It’s called a dark-money group because, as a social welfare organization, it does not need to disclose the names of its contributors, unlike political action committees or campaign committees. It is subject to limitations PACs and campaign committees do not face, such as a requirement to limit political activity to less than half of its operations, but that standard is vague and not aggressively enforced.
It also must file summary reports with the IRS. America Next requested repeated delays in filing its first report, which was turned in last month.
America Next has promoted Jindal’s policy proposals on health care, education, national defense and energy. It is one element of Jindal’s political financing operation, which also includes his presidential campaign committee, the Believe Again superPAC, the Believe Again multicandidate PAC and another political group called the American Future Project. Those other groups must disclose their donors in periodic federal reports.
America Next may be used to pay for travel by Jindal and others to raise money or give speeches, and it may compensate consultants and others who may also work for other Jindal vehicles.
There is considerable overlap among the officers and directors of the groups. America Next lists as its board members Rolfe McCollister, Jr., a Baton Rouge publisher who was named by Jindal to the LSU Board of Supervisors; Jimmy Faircloth, Jr., the governor’s former executive counsel and go-to lawyer on high-profile legal cases; James Moore, a Monroe investor who also owns a home in Baton Rouge; Jefferson Angers, a Baton Rouge banker; and Dawn Vick, a Baton Rouge pediatrician. Jill Neunaber, a veteran Republican operative active in other aspects of Jindal’s presidential campaign, is executive director.
America Next spent $1.4 million during the reporting period, and finished the period with nearly $960,000 in the bank. It spent $450,000 on consulting fees, $237,000 on advertising and promotion, $150,000 on employee pay, $110,000 on legal costs, and $41,000 on travel.
Although the filing does not identify contributors, it does itemize 101 contributions of at least $5,000 each, including seven contributions of $100,000, one of $75,000, one of $60,000, four of $50,000, one of $45,000 and 26 of $25,000.