Home > Cande = Conjecture & Exaggeration, Fande = Fact & Evidence, The Economy > Karl Rove’s secret donations = Corruption in America

Karl Rove’s secret donations = Corruption in America

Who is Karl Rove? The main political advisor to George W. Bush.

This election year is the first since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows corporations for the first time to finance ads that directly support or oppose political candidates. And tax laws and loopholes have permitted a shadow campaign network of Republican-leaning nonprofit groups to collect a flood of anonymous donations and spend it widely.

If the Republicans make big gains in the House and Senate on Election Day, there is rare bipartisan consensus that they will owe part of their victory to the millions of dollars raised and spent by these nonprofit groups, much of which has come from businesses.

The groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the American Action Network and Crossroads GPS, which is linked to the Republican strategist Karl Rove, have committed to spending well over $150 million this year. President Obama has railed against these groups as they have poured money into races in which once-secure Democrats are hanging by a thread.

But the attacks may have only helped build the groups’ fund-raising muscle. Crossroads GPS and a sister organization, American Crossroads, have received more than $100,000 in small donations through the Web, when they had expected most gifts to come in big checks. And the groups’ leaders have only grown more influential — far more influential than the Republican National Committee, led by Michael Steele. Evidently, the corporate donors love having a secret route to influence politics and elect Republicans without showing their hands to a Washington still controlled by the Democrats….

the only way to stop the undisclosed donations is to change the law. But Democrats recently failed to move a bill requiring disclosure through the Senate; not a single Republican voted for it.

Such legislation is unlikely to grow any more popular before 2012, and most political experts agree that the secret money spent by outside groups this year will look like a pittance by then, when President Obama will face re-election.

“This year is practice for 2012,” said Jan Baran, a partner at Wiley Rein L.L.P. in Washington, who is a former general counsel of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Baran filed an amicus brief in the Citizens United case on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, which opposed donor disclosure….

The American Action Network shares office space with American Crossroads, led by Mr. Rove, who also was an active participant in Nixon’s re-election as executive director of the College Republican National Committee.

Mr. Malek also attends meetings of the Weaver Terrace Group, which was named for the street where Mr. Rove used to live. The participants, who include leading Republican strategists from outside groups, routinely trade political intelligence and sometimes make joint fund-raising trips.

The list of donors for either Mr. Malek’s group or Mr. Rove’s group is unknown. Yet Mr. Wertheimer predicts that the groups will, one day, have to disclose their contributors. “I don’t believe secretly funding our elections can be sustained,” said Mr. Wertheimer, who now runs Democracy 21, which pushes for campaign finance reform. “It won’t hold up. The public won’t stand for it. This is guaranteed corruption.”

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