Karl Rove Does Social Welfare!

Politico has an excellent story up about the relationship between Steve Wynn and Karl Rove, “Rove hits big:  The birth of a mega-donor,” by Ken Vogel and Steve Friess.  Some excerpts:

“Simply put:  any person, corporation or union can spend as much as they want to directly influence elections through hard-hitting television ads without anyone else knowing.  Republicans and their allies have had exceptional success exploiting this dynamic, which really took off after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

Unlike Super PACs, Crossroads GPS [one of Rove’s groups] is registered under a section of the tax code for so-called ‘social welfare’ groups — 501(c)4 — that does not require groups to reveal their donors’ names, only donation amounts.  The promise of anonymity is one of the main reasons GPS was established — it allows Wynn and like-minded contributors to avoid the controversy that has dogged top political donors like competing casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, as well as the libertarian industrialist Koch Brothers or the liberal financier George Soros.”

“Sources tell Politico that Wynn’s giving to Crossroads GPS dwarfs all the  publicly reported federal donations he’s ever made combined.”  Emphasis added.

Crossroads GPS does “social welfare” about as much and as well as I do nuclear physics.

GOP Will Show Us the Money

GOP Super PACs and related groups are planning to spend $1 billion between now and November to fight for the White House and Congress.*  That’s not including Mitt’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, which expect to throw another $800 million into the pot.

Groups related to our friends the Koch Brothers, like Americans for Prosperity, had planned to spend $200 million, but, what the heck, they’ve decided to increase it to $400 million.  That money will be spent convincing Americans to vote against their own economic interests and for the interests of billionaires instead.  If you’re a middle class American, things do not go better with Koch.

Karl Rove’s groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are expected to spend $300 million.  Now he’s an Evil Genius with overflowing coffers, definitely a dangerous combination.

Where does this leave President Obama and the Dems?  Outspent by two to one.

* “GOP groups plan $1 billion blitz,” Mike Allen and Jim VanderHei, Politico

The Super PACmen Are Gobbling Up Our Campaign Finance Laws

With the rise of the Super PACs as virtual parallel campaign structures, the $2500 individual contribution limit in presidential campaigns has become meaningless.

Look at Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future [the name makes no sense, btw], which has raised about $30 million this year, and not from people going online to give $25 or $50.  They got $1 million from a former Bain executive, Edward Conard, and another $1 million from J. W. Marriott, Jr., fellow Mormon and chairman of the eponymous hotel chain.  The $2500 limit was designed to make such contributions, and the influence they would buy, impossible.

As for the PACs being forbidden to coordinate with the campaigns, they don’t have to because they know exactly what the candidate wants and needs from them.  In Mitt’s case his official campaign runs positive ads, while the PAC runs all the negative ones.  The fundraiser for Romney’s PAC, Steve Roche, just months ago was the chief finance guy at the official campaign.  The PAC is filled with other former campaign people, like the political director from the 2008 campaign, Carl Forti, and the former chief counsel, Charles Spies, as well as ad maker Larry McCarthy, who did the Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis.*

Mitt keeps saying that President Obama is ruining this country.  No, the million-dollar contributions are.

*See “PAC Ads Rip at Gingrich As Romney Stands Clear,” by Nicholas Confessore and Jim Rutenberg, NYT