Last year, a “mysterious non-profit” called the Government Integrity Fund appeared in the midst of the campaign season and began airing campaign commercials in support of Republican Josh Mandel’s bid to unseat Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Although the Government Integrity Fund does not disclose its donors, a recently released tax form shows that a group run by Tim Crawford — a Republican known for his work as a close adviser to Sarah Palin, who also serves a a spokesman and treasurer of SarahPAC, Palin’s official campaign committee — provided $627,000 to the pro-Mandel mystery fund.

Crawford used an entity called “New Models,” itself another undisclosed political fund that raised over $4.4 million last year, and dispensed that money to Republican polling operations, Super PACs and undisclosed attack-ad organizations like the Government Integrity Fund. Crawford is the only board member of New Models, which he used to provide himself with a $265,000 salary. Where did Crawford find the cash for these undisclosed political endeavors? Crawford did not respond to a request for comment, but a tax form from the Business Roundtable, a trade association for large corporations, shows that the group gave Crawford’s New Models $600,000 the previous year.

This isn’t the first time Crawford has been connected to a mysterious campaign effort. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, New Models was “behind controversial automated calls to Pennsylvania voters made during the 2008 presidential election. The calls told voters that Barack Obama’s aunt was living in America illegally and that he accepted campaign contributions from his ‘illegal alien aunt.'”

This post first appeared at The Nation and is reposted here with permission.

Lee Fang is a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, now known as Type Investigations, now known as Type Investigations.