Stoking the flow of dollars has been the guarantee of secrecy afforded by certain nonprofit groups. Mel Sembler, a shopping mall magnate in St. Petersburg, Fla., who is close to the Republican strategist Karl Rove, said wealthy donors had written six- and seven-figure checks to Crossroads GPS, a Rove-backed group that is the most active of the nonprofits started this year. Republicans close to the group said that last week, the group received a check for several million dollars from a single donor, whom they declined to identify.
“I think most people are very comfortable giving anonymously,” Mr. Sembler said. “They want to be able to be helpful but not be seen by the public as taking sides.”
Republicans involved in Crossroads say the groups owe their fund-raising success to a hope that a Republican Congress would undo some of the Obama administration agenda. But they also credit their fund-raising strategy.
When Mr. Rove and Ed Gillespie, the former Republican chairman, began their efforts last spring, they first helped set up a group called American Crossroads under a tax-code provision that requires the disclosure of donors. It took in several seven-figure contributions from high-profile donors, including Trevor Rees-Jones, president and chief executive of Chief Oil and Gas, and Robert Rowling, chief executive of TRT Holdings.
Then in June, Mr. Rove and Mr. Gillespie helped organize Crossroads GPS under the provision that allows donors to give anonymously. A Republican operative who speaks frequently with Mr. Rove said the public donations, revealed over the summer, were used as “a way to energize others to give large amounts anonymously.”
The operative added, “It has worked like a charm.”
Monday, October 11, 2010
American Crossroads Fundraising Strategy
The New York Times reports: