A political outfit conceived by Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie pulled in more than $2 million from deep-pocketed conservatives and corporations last month, and this week spent $454,000 on ads supporting Republican Rob Portman’s Ohio Senate campaign, according to financial reports filed recently with the Federal Election Commission.
The reports show that the group, a political action committee called American Crossroads, accepted $1 million each from the trust of former Univision chairman Jerry Perenchio and from an agricultural interest controlled in part by Texas billionaire Harold Simmons.
But the FEC reports reveal only half of the effort being waged under the American Crossroads umbrella, which includes the Crossroads PAC and a newer, stealthier group called American Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, or GPS.
Together they have raised $17.6 million through mid-August, spokesman Jonathan Collegio told the Associated Press, though he wouldn’t answer when asked by POLITICO how much was raised by each group.
Two outside pro-Republican groups say they will boost their total fundraising to $52 million over the next two months, as the political right begins to play serious catch-up on the left in the use of tax-exempt nonparty organizations in election campaigns.
Mike Duncan, chairman of American Crossroads, told The Washington Times that his group and American Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies plan to plow more than $49 million of it into 11 Senate races in anticipation that the Republican Party is within reach of a Senate majority.
And, in an inversion of the usual image of "coattails" descending from the top of the ticket to a party's candidates for lower offices, he says a number of Senate seats are in play because of the strength of strong House candidates in the respective states.
The Republican National Committee has just over $5 million in the bank for the final stretch of the 2010 midterm election campaign, according to an unannounced filing with the FEC disclosed Friday night.
The report also indicates that the national party headed by embattled chairman Michael Steele is carrying just over $2 million in debt.There was no press release from the RNC attempting to put a positive spin on the grim numbers. Rather, officials from the Democratic National Committee flagged the RNC's report, which was posted on the Federal Election Commission’s website Friday night.
It indicated that the committee brought in slightly more than $5.5 million in July — less than half of what the DNC raised — while spending $11 million.
The RNC's money woes have many party leaders and operatives deeply worried about whether the GOP will be able to take full advantage of an otherwise promising election cycle. Of most concern are get-out- the-vote activities that are typically funded by the national committee. While the RNC OK’d a $10 million line-of-credit at its meeting earlier this month, that will still be insufficient to fund the sort of voter contact efforts needed across the House, Senate, gubernatorial and local races this year. Senior Republicans are expecting newly created third-party groups such as American Crossroads to step in and assist with the ground game.
Given the number of other Republican groups raising money, this isn’t as disastrous as going into battle without ammunition. It’s more like going into battle without ammunition for just one of your armies.