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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Winning Our Future

Political leanings: Republican/Pro-Gingrich Super PAC

Spending target: Undisclosed

Late to the game but ramping up quickly, Winning Our Future is a “super PAC” supporting Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Winning Our Future was formed on Dec. 13, 2011, which is later than many of the super PACs backing other Republican presidential candidates. As of June 30, the group had raised and spent $23 million — including $17 million on independent expenditures, second only to Restore Our Future, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC.

An infusion of funds from casino owner Sheldon Adelson, a longtime supporter of Gingrich, thrust Winning Our Future into the spotlight. Politico and the New York Times reported that Adelson’s money was used to purchase a 27-minute documentary film, “King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” which portrays Romney as a corporate raider who destroyed businesses when he was CEO of the investment firm Bain Capital. According to the New York Times report, Winning Our Future spent $3.4 million in South Carolina on radio and TV advertisements based on the film. We fact-checked the ad and concluded it presented one-sided, often distorted and misleading view of Mitt Romney’s years at Bain. Nonetheless, t he ad was credited with helping Gingrich’s surprise win in the Palmetto State.

CBS News reported on Feb. 17 that the Adelson family has already donated $11 million to Winning Our Future, and that another $10 million was forthcoming. FEC documents show that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, contributed a combined $19.5 million.

The Center for Public Integrity noted that contributions from Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, may also come with some political baggage. The Las Vegas Sands disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that “it is facing a federal criminal probe into whether it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars bribery overseas to win business,” according to the center’s report.

Winning Our Future was created by Becky Burkett, who previously served as chief development officer for Gingrich’s now-defunct political committee called American Solutions for Winning the Future, a 527 organized under the IRS code. IRS documents show that Adelson gave $7 million to the group from 2006, when the committee formed, through 2010. That includes $2.9 million in 2008 and $2 million in 2007.

On Dec. 20, the super PAC announced the addition of Rick Tyler as a senior adviser. Tyler is a longtime press secretary and spokesman for Gingrich. Tyler also is a past president of Renewing American Leadership, a nonprofit cofounded by Gingrich “to preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the four pillars of American civilization: faith, family, freedom, and free enterprise.”

Tyler was part of the mass exodus of top staffers who left Gingrich’s campaign last summer after questioning Gingrich’s commitment to the campaign and his vision for victory. But Tyler always maintained in public statements that he believed Gingrich would make a good president.

Update, July 25: We updated this item to reflect campaign finance data through June 30, 2012.