As the case was brewing, Forcht was stepping up his efforts to see Conway defeated in the upcoming U.S. Senate contest. In July, Forcht and his wife hosted a fundraising reception for Paul at a Forcht Bank branch in Lexington.
Forcht has in one sense become a classic political "bundler" – a fundraiser who has tapped his vast network to gather thousands of dollars from friends and employees on behalf of Paul and other Republican candidates. By the tally of the Louisville Courier-Journal last weekend, Forcht bundled more than $21,000 in checks for Paul in just the last five days of June. And he raised more than $1.1 million for Paul and other Republicans over the past few campaign cycles.
Less is known about Forcht's ties to American Crossroads, the conservative group founded by Rove. The group's non-profit arm, American Crossroads GPS, has collected millions in secret to back GOP candidates. In August, American Crossroads filed papers with the Federal Election Commission identifying Forcht Bank as the temporary destination for the millions in deposits it was collecting on behalf of GOP candidates around the country.
"It is extremely unusual for a Washington, D.C.-based political committee that is raising money nationwide to use an out-of-state community bank as its campaign depository," said Brett Kappel, a D.C.-based election lawyer.
A spokesman for American Crossroads said Thursday that former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, himself a community banker, recommended the group contract with Forcht for its banking needs, saying the group "sought to use a community bank that would have a high degree of customer service for our activities."
Jonathan Collegio told ABC News that Forcht has had "no role in American Crossroads or Crossroads GPS operations," but would not say whether Forcht donated money to the non-profit arm of the group. "We don't disclose donors to the 501 c4," he said.
"This is a desperate attempt to connect unconnected dots by a desperate campaign, which has no traction on any real issues," Collegio said.
Federal records show American Crossroads has spent more than $1.1 million on ads attacking Conway. American Crossroads GPS has spent $461,459 on anti-Conway ads in the past three weeks, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The Paul campaign could not be reached for comment and a message left at the American Crossroads headquarters has not been returned. John Collins, a spokesman for Conway, said the outside group has waged an aggressive push in Kentucky. They financed automated telephone ads attacking Conway and sent a six-page mailer to hundreds of thousands of Kentucky households, Collins said. Conway has objected to the work by the group's non-profit arm – which does not disclose the source of its funds.
"Jack believes the people of Kentucky should determine elections, not anonymous donors," Collins, the Conway campaign spokesman, said this week.