Disgruntled with perceived mismanagement by Chairman Michael Steele, Republican consultants Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie founded a network of right-wing attack groups to rival the power of the Republican National Committee. The “shadow RNC” consists of organizations like American Crossroads, a 527 to run campaign ads and the American Action Forum, a Wall Street-funded clearinghouse for pro-corporate ads and events. While Gillespie promised to raise $50 million dollars for his new venture, the Politico points to disclosures which reveal a far more modest haul:
The group, American Crossroads, raised only $200 last month, according to a report it filed Monday with the Internal Revenue Service, bringing its total raised since launching in March to a little more than $1.25 million. […] Trevor Rees-Jones, president of Chief Oil and Gas, a privately held energy company in Dallas, in April contributed $1 million to American Crossroads while B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., the chairman of Public Storage, contributed $250,000 in March.
In sum, outside of two large checks, American Crossroads has failed to attract any widespread support so far. While the low fundraising numbers may lead some critics to discount Rove and Gillespie, both have many connections to deep-pocketed donors. Gillespie has been meeting with financial executives, and Rove has recruited a top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to assist with his efforts. On the other hand, the right-wing establishment promised in 2008 to press forward with a similar attack network, called Freedom’s Watch, which eventually dissolved despite months of similar hype.