-By Michael Isikoff
November 4, 2011- A major conservative advocacy group, funded by Koch family oil interests, says it is reviewing its "financial dealings" with a Wisconsin charity headed by Herman Cain's campaign manager, raising fresh questions about the source of tens of thousands of dollars in funds that were used to pay expenses for Cain's presidential campaign.
The Center for Public Integrity reported late Thursday that Americans for Prosperity, one of the largest and most prominent of conservative political groups, has confirmed unspecified financial transactions with two closely linked Wisconsin non-profits — Prosperity USA and Wisconsin Prosperity Network — that were founded by Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager.
One of those groups, Prosperity USA, paid for $37,000 in expenses, including iPads, charter flights and items, for Cain's presidential campaign, according to financial documents disclosed this week by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Non-profits are barred by law from paying for campaign expenses, and when the allegations first surfaced this week — at the same time as the sexual harassment charges against the presidential candidate — Cain said he would order an investigation of whether there were improper campaign violations.
Cain's campaign lawyer, Steve Bienek, declined to answer questions from NBC about the transactions between the Wisconsin charities headed by Block and the campaign, saying only that the campaign has retained an outside law firm to review them.
"We take these allegations very seriously," he said.