In response to a recent court decision that was expected to bring greater transparency to election spending, the nonprofit created and chaired by billionaire industrialist David Koch, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), is shifting its electoral strategy to continue hiding its donors as it drops $27 million on the presidential race, with millions more likely to be spent as the election approaches.
Comments about "legitimate rape" and human reproduction from U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), GOP senate candidate for Missouri, has set off a firestorm of controversy and a growing chorus of Republicans calling on him to withdraw from the race. But the decision by Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS to stop running ads in Missouri may be the most decisive call for withdrawal, and an indication of how well-funded outside groups are calling the shots in modern elections, to an even greater degree than political parties.
Amidst reports that Mitt Romney launched Bain Capital with funds from investors tied to 1980s Salvadoran death squads, his new running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is getting foreign policy briefings from a man who actively covered-up some of the worst atrocities committed by those same death squads. The GOP's vice-presidential candidate also earned his political stripes working under neoconservative Republicans who funneled billions in U.S. aid to those military hitmen. Though the war in El Salvador was just one chapter in history, Romney and Ryan's relationship with that war may provide a snapshot into their worldview.
Karl Rove's dark money group Crossroads GPS is telling whoppers again, this time in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in North Dakota. The ad claims Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic candidate running against Republican Rep. Rick Berg, purchased private planes using taxpayer dollars during her tenure as the state's Attorney General, charges Heitkamp says are "completely false." The $191,000 ad buy began airing on August 8th, but was pulled off the air by the 10th. Crossroads GPS recently aired a new version of the ad with only minor changes.
Wisconsin's hotly-contested race to select its GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate is another battle between out-of-state Super PACs and Tea Party-associated nonprofits spending millions to convince election-weary voters to select their preferred candidate. The influx of outside spending is fueling a race to the right as candidates compete for the label of "true conservative." Here is a rundown of the groups spending big to influence Wisconsin's GOP primary.
A right-wing group that pledged to "continue the excellent work of the American Legislative Exchange Council" (ALEC) and promote voter ID has published a thinly-sourced blog post that purports to show people of color and the poor are actually helped by voter ID laws, an unsupported claim that is being hyped as a "study" by outlets like Fox News and the Daily Caller. More comprehensive research has demonstrated that these laws threaten to disenfranchise around 5 million people nationally, primarily people of color, students, and the poor.
The close race to pick the GOP candidate for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat is attracting national attention, with establishment GOP funders battling it out with Tea Party Super PACs to tilt today's runoff election.
Wisconsin state senator and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) member Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) is perpetuating discredited allegations of "voter fraud" to argue that the state's unconstitutional voter ID law would help Mitt Romney win the state in the November elections.
Karl Rove's American Crossroads is hoping to help the GOP regain ground among women, particularly Latina women. According to a Gallup poll President Barack Obama has a 48 point advantage among Latino voters, while a CNN poll finds that women voters back Obama over Romney by a 16 point margin. Now Rove's Super PAC is trying to make inroads with these voters, releasing an online ad that attempts to turn the "War on Women" charge on Obama. The Super PAC is testing the video in focus groups, with an eye toward potentially creating a 30-second TV ad, according to CNN.
Law enforcement has found no evidence of "voter fraud" in the election that gave Wisconsin Democrats control of the state senate, despite right-wing media and legislators hyping the allegations to cast doubt on the only Wisconsin recall election won by a Democrat this year. The state elections board has also condemned "unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud" by Wisconsin Republican leaders.