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Mitt Romney Super PAC Took Banned Contributions From Federal Contractors

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The pro-Mitt Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, accepted $890,000 in donations from federal contractors despite a ban on such donations, the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times/Tribune reported Sunday.

Restore Our Future's website doesn't remind donors of the 36-year-old prohibition on federal contractors making federal political expenditures, unlike those of other super PACs, including the Republican American Crossroads or the pro-Obama Priorities USA.

The Restore Our Future donors included companies that have contracts with the Department of Defense, the Navy and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Oxbow Carbon, a coal and petroleum company owned by William Koch that has sold millions of dollars worth of coal to the TVA, gave $750,000.

The contributions likely reflect ongoing confusion about the reach of the 2010 Citizens United decision. Federal courts and the Federal Election Commission have yet to rule whether Citizens United effectively overturned the previous ban on contributions by federal contractors, leaving that a gray area.

M.C. Dean, an electrical engineering company that gave $5,000 to Restore Our Future, told the Tribune that it wasn't aware of the issue and would request its donation back "out of an abundance of caution."

Restore Our Future, one of the 2012 race's best-funded Super PACs, has spent more than $18 million on the election cycle, crafting overwhelmingly negative ads. The group came under scrutiny several weeks ago for recycling an ad from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2007, which critics say violated a prohibition on republishing campaign materials.

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