TCF Bank’s employee political action fund has donated $25,000 to the conservative non-profit Americans for Prosperity.
The donation, which amounts to about a fourth of the $105,000 the fund has given away so far this election cycle, was made on May 31, 2012, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Many companies have political action committees. Employees give money to these special funds, and the money is typically given to individual candidates or parties. Many employee funds spread their money equally between Republicans and Democrats.
That’s what makes TFC Bank PAC’s donation so unusual, says Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit that tracks political spending and that initially identified the contribution.
Americans for Prosperity is technically a non-profit that can engage in some political activity, but doesn’t have to disclose its donors.
“Normal, regular company PACs can be used to give money to candidates. There aren’t a whole lot of other ways that you can give money to candidates unless you give as an individual,” Novak siad. “There are a lot of other ways to give money to a [non-profit]. You can give some money out of the corporate treasury, which is not something you can do to a candidate.”
“It’s unclear whether employees who give to the company PAC might be unhappy with the PAC giving such a large percentage of the money that’s been donated by employees to a partisan group,” Novak said.
It appears the TCF Bank PAC hasn’t given to other such non-profits, OpenSecrets.org reports.
Americans for Prosperity is a conservative organization that promotes small government and lower taxes, among other things. It was founded by David Koch, a major Republican donor who, with his brother Charles, owns Koch Industries, a conglomerate that operates oil refineries and owns several household goods brands.
TCF’s donation was to the national arm of Americans for Prosperity, but the group has a local branch in Minnesota that’s been weighing in this election cycle on the Vikings stadium and the health care law.
TCF Bank PAC has also given thousands to other candidates all over the country who represent both parties. Republican Reps. Chip Cravaack, Michele Bachmann and John Kline are among the recipients.
Read more from OpenSecrets.org.