Mark Block is the man with the cigarette in that Herman Cain ad. He also ran the Wisconsin arm of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. According to what look like internal records published by Daniel Bice at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Mr. Block gave Mr. Cain an early push:
Balance sheets showed Wisconsin Prosperity Network was more than $62,000 in the hole by early February; Prosperity USA was in even worse shape, with its liabilities exceeding its assets by $110,000.
In fact, the records indicate Prosperity USA’s biggest asset was nearly $40,000 that it was owed by “FOH,” a reference to Friends of Herman Cain, the name of Cain’s presidential operation.
A more detailed checking account says the Cain campaign owed nearly $15,000 for an “Atlanta invoice,” about $17,000 for chartered flight service and $5,000 for travel and meetings in Iowa, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Louisiana. The document says the Cain campaign had been billed $3,700 for iPads purchased on Jan. 4.
The Bice report suggests that the way the money went to support Mr. Cain could run afoul of campaign finance and/or tax law – the groups Mr. Block founded were nonprofits that aren’t allowed direct political involvement. Since the laws on campaign finance are not all that fiercely enforced, the story may say at least as much about the Cain campaign’s roots with Americans for Prosperity.