To Better the Know Right-Wing Groups Trying to Buy the Election
A small number of right-wing billionaires are trying to buy this election. And they’re doing it using a variety of right-wing attack groups that have unleashed avalanche of negative ads attacking the president and Democratic Senate and House candidate. These groups may spend as much as $1 BILLION before everything is said and done.
Here’s the rundown on three of these groups: Crossroads GPS, American Crossroads, and Americans for Prosperity.
Created in 2010, Crossroads GPS is a tax-exempt501(c)(4) organization co-founded by former George W. Bush campaign architect Karl Rove and Mitt Romney campaign adviser and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. Ironically, Gillespie in 2007 blasted the growing role of similar outside political groups, telling the Center for Public Integrity that independent spenders now “run wild, unfettered, unregulated, not subject to the same rules and regulations as the national parties. And I think that’s been incredibly unhealthy.”
As a 501(c)(4), the group is not legally required to identify its donors — unlike its affiliated Super PAC, American Crossroads. Crossroads GPS notes on its website that its policy is “to not provide the names of its donors to the general public.” It has spent millions of dollars running attack ads against Democrats, including a $25 million blitz against President Obama announced last month.
American Crossroads is an independent expenditure-only Super PAC.
Created in 2010, American Crossroads claims a “deep love for all that America represents – and a deep concern about the direction we are headed in” and says its vision its vision is that “our country is always at its best when its citizens—not self-serving politicians in Washington—are in control of its future.” It has raised more than $40 million already this cycle and spent at least $11.5 million on independent expenditures.
American Crossroads was co-founded by former George W. Bush campaign architect Karl Roveand Mitt Romney campaign adviser and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. The group’s president, Stephen Law, is a former chief legal officer and general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Mike Duncan, chairman of American Crossroads, is a former Republican National Committee Chairman.
One of the group’s top donors, Crow Holdings, is led by Harlan Crow, who made ethically questionable payments to the wife Justice Clarence Thomas and provided gifts to Thomas himself
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organization.
Created in 2004 when Citizens for a Sound Economy (a conservative organization founded in 1984 by oil billionaires David and Charles Koch) split, AFP calls itself “an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets.” Its goals include “cutting taxes and government spending in order to halt the encroachment of government in the economic lives of citizens,” “removing unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship,” and “restoring fairness to our judicial system.”
Though generally associated with the Koch Brothers, the organization is led by president Tim Phillips. Phillips, a former chief of staff for Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), co-founded Century Strategies with Ralph Reed — the former Christian Coalition executive director and Jack Abramoff-scandal figure. Phillips has made a career in corporate “astroturfing.”
The group’s directors include controversial millionaire and former North Carolina State Rep. Art Pope (R) and former Reagan administration budget director James C. Miller.
The group has funded efforts to “incubate” Tea Party organizations and was highly visible in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election running ads and sending staffers in the state to support Gov. Scott Walker (R).
Stay tuned for more in this ongoing series.