Huffington Post: Senate Races 2012: Conservative Groups Seek GOP Senate Control With Tens Of Millions In Ads
-By Paul Blumenthal
September 13, 2012- WASHINGTON -- All eyes are fixed on the money race between President Barack Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and the outside groups cheering them on with attack ads. That attention may allow one of the biggest money stories in the 2012 election to fly under the radar. In the fight for control of the Senate, a coalition of conservative groups have pummelled Democratic senators and candidates in the nation's closest races for more than a year in an attempt to wrest control of the chamber and make Sen. Mitch McConnell the next Majority Leader.
Since the beginning of last year, these conservative groups have poured more than $50 million into ads -- both those reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and so-called "issue" ads that are not -- targeting seven of the closest Senate races in the country, according to sources in Democratic campaigns, other ad-watching sources, and a series of publicly-reported figures and those collected from news reports and press releases. This compares to the slightly more than $20 million spent by liberal-allied groups on ads in these seven races.
-By Dan Froomkin
August 31, 2012- WASHINGTON -- A new report from Congress' nonpartisan research arm suggests that the Internal Revenue Service won't have much patience with the argument from groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS that the ads it buys shouldn't be counted as political campaign activity.
The claim that ads attacking candidates aren't political -- as long as they avoid words like "vote" or "elect" -- is key to the empire of shadowy non-disclosing political groups that Rove, the Koch Brothers and other major political players have created.
By insisting that most of their budget goes toward "issue advocacy," rather than influencing elections, these groups exploit a loophole that allows certain non-political groups to keep their donors secret.
-By Sheelah Kolhatkar
August 31, 2012- On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more.
-By Peter H. Stone
August 28, 2012- TAMPA, Fla. -- A shift of power from the official Republican party apparatus to an informal coalition of megadonors, super PACs and nonprofit advocacy groups is underway here, as a rising shadow party increasingly drives GOP politics.
Mel Sembler, a Florida shopping mall magnate and a key member of the Romney campaign's finance team, is planning to open his home Tuesday for a few hours to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future to let the group's leaders chat up potential donors on their plans, according to GOP fundraisers who requested anonymity to preserve their relationship with the groups.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, top strategists for three powerhouse GOP allies -- the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads groups; billionaires Charles and David Koch, who founded Americans for Prosperity; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- are planning to huddle at a local hotel to coordinate efforts to spend tens of millions more on television ads and voter turnout, according to sources close to the groups, who were not authorized to speak on their behalf.
—By Andy Kroll
August 10, 2012- Crossroads GPS, the dark-money nonprofit group co-founded by Karl Rove, recently unveiled a TV ad hammering North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, a candidate for US Senate, for spending "taxpayer dollars to buy private planes." That was a lie.
In a takedown letter sent to local broadcasters, Heitkamp explained that the planes referenced by Crossroads were given to her for free by the federal government. What's more, the planes formerly belonged to the Department of Defense and one was for drug trafficking surveillance, the other for spare parts. No money was spent, and the planes weren't for "private" use at all.
Huffington Post: 'Dark Money' Hits $172 Million In 2012 Election, Half Of Independent Group Spending
-By Paul Blumenthal
July 29, 2012- WASHINGTON -- In May, the conservative nonprofit group Crossroads GPS, founded by famed political strategist Karl Rove and other leading Republican operatives, ran a television ad showcasing a fictional mother who had supported Barack Obama in 2008. The mom was disappointed in Obama's performance, saddled as she was with two adult children who had moved back in with her due to the stalled economy. The ad was the centerpiece of a $25 million campaign -- one of the biggest ad buys so far in the 2012 election cycle.
Despite the fact that the ad's central message was the failure of the president, it wasn't considered a campaign ad under election laws. Although the group spends tens of millions of dollars on ads targeting Democratic candidates, Crossroads GPS is organized as a "social welfare nonprofit" under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code and therefore not subject to the rules governing political organizations.
-By Eric W. Dolan
July 25, 2012- A third complaint has been filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Crossroads GPS, a group co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, has been unlawfully hiding its donors from the public by masquerading as a “social welfare” organization.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint on Tuesday, claiming the pro-Republican group failed to report TV ads it ran against three Democratic Senate candidates to the FEC.
“Crossroads GPS wants to have its cake and eat it too. Karl Rove’s secretive 501(c)(4) wants to run political ads without complying with the disclosure rules applicable to such ads,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “By disguising political ads as issue ads, Crossroads is trying to do an end run around the law.”
Huffington Post: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Files Complaint Over Groups That Shield Donors
-By Amanda Terkel
July 9, 2012- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is set to file a complaint on Monday with the Federal Election Commission arguing that conservative groups such as Crossroads GPS should not be given non-profit status and allowed to shield their donors, due to the large amount of political advocacy work they are doing.
The complaint targets Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the 60 Plus Association, as the New York Times first reported. These groups are classified as 501(c)(4) organizations under the U.S. tax code, which means they can keep their donors' identities private but cannot be focused primarily on political activity.
Crossroads GPS, however, recently launched a $25 million ad campaign attacking President Obama's record on the economy.