Near the village, the peaceful village, the lion sleeps tonight. The Wimoweh lyrics held true for some presidential super PAC donors in 2013, but as the 2016 presidential hopefuls start to shake hands of major donors around the country, things may change.
One major Super PAC donor during the 2012 presidential election, who has been quiet during 2013, is H. Gary Morse. Morse and his family control The Villages, a billion-dollar retirement community business northwest of Orlando, Florida. The age-restricted community is operated by The Villages Family Company and numerous related limited liability corporations (LLCs).
During 2011-21012, Morse and his wife Renee, along with a dozen other LLCs, donated $1,445,000 to the super PACs Restore Our Future, American Crossroads, Freedom PAC, and America on the Move. An individual may give unlimited amounts to Super PAC,s who only make independent expenditures. It is not clear why Morse chose to use numerous LLCs that he controls, but that may have been where the money was. Under some state campaign finance laws donors use LLCs to get around disclosure and dollar limit restrictions. On the federal level, the Citizens United Supreme Court case permitted the use of corporate contributions.
H. Gary Morse gave $50,000 to Restore Our Future, which was the primary Super PAC supporting 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Both Romney and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan visited The Villages during the campaign. Morse served as co-chairman of Romney's Florida campaign. Renee Morse gave $350,000 to Restore Our Future.
Also giving to Restore Our Future were The Villages of Lake Sumter $250K; Central Sumter Utility LLC $50K; GTMJ Investment Group LLC $100K; Lazy B Cattle Venture LLC $100K; North Sumter Utility Co LLC $100K; 44A Partners LLC $50k; Sumter Sanitation LLC $100k; Sumter Water Conservation Authority LLC $50K; and Central Sumter Utility Co. LLC $25K.
LLCs giving to the Super PAC American Crossroads included GTMJ Investment Group LLC $25K; Little Sumter Utility Co LLC $10K; North Sumter Utility Co. LLC $25K; Sumter Sanitation LLC $75K; and Sumter Water Conservation Authority 25K.
The Villages also gave $50K to Freedom PAC. The Holding Company of the Villages also gave $10K to America on the Move.
Beyond the dozen Morse-related LLCs, there were five other LLCs that gave. The Shopping Center Development LLC gave $50K to Restore Our Future and $25K to American Crossroads. The Diversified Commercial Properties Services LLC gave $50K to Restore Our Future and $40K to American Crossroads. The Mid-Florida Property LLC gave $50K to Restore Our Future and $25K to American Crossroads. The MMMP LLC gave $50K to American Crossroads. SCD Investment gave $50K to Restore Our Future and $25K to American Crossroads. If these were Morse-controlled, it would bring his total to over $1.8 million in the 2011-2012 cycle.
Although Gary Morse and his related LLCs have not been reported as 2013 donors to Super PACs or Section 527 organizations, they could have been donors to 501c4 non-profit 'social welfare' organizations, that are not required to disclose the names of those contributing to their organization.