"They have the credibility. People trust them," says Saul Anuzis, a longtime Republican National Committee member from Michigan. "They know that none of them are strident or ideologues in that regard. They're party people."
As the two parties and their outside allies brace for the general election, Anuzis breaks down the financial battle this way: "A third of all the money spent on federal elections will come from candidates; a third will come from the parties and a third will come from these independent groups and superPACs."
American Crossroads with $15 million on hand as of Jan. 1 stands to be one of the central elements of the Republican effort.
The group's CEO, Steven Law, says it has just one goal.
"Groups like ours are not very interested in acquiring power," he says. "We're interested in influencing results."...
"On the policy side, we want to stop President Obama's agenda," Law says. "On the political side, we want to replace him as president."...
The RNC has high overhead, a national infrastructure and heavy debt from years past, which left it at the end of the year just $7 million in the black. So impressive were the GOP superPACs, in fact, that President Obama's campaign this week started urging donors to support a pro-Obama superPAC. [emphasis added]
Meanwhile Law says donors are more interested than ever in American Crossroads. He says the high-profile presidential superPACs have a lot to do with it, and disclosure doesn't seem as scary as it did.
"The truth of the matter is, if you're interested in direct political impact and election consequences, that's the most efficient way to invest your money," he says.