Rove’s RNC ‘grassroots’ rival, American Crossroads, raised 97 percent of its money from four billionaires.

karlrove2Compensating for damage the Republican National Committee’s unsteadiness may cause Republican candidates this fall, several high-profile GOP operatives — including Karl Rove and two former RNC chairmen — recently founded American Crossroads as a “grassroots,” “shadow RNC.” Salon’s Justin Elliott now reports that the group raised 97 percent of its funding from just four billionaires:

The IRS filing of American Crossroads, an outside 527 group that was conceived by Rove and ex-RNC chair Ed Gillespie, gives a good taste of who is funding the GOP effort to make big gains in the House and Senate come the fall. … Chaired by another ex-RNC chair, Mike Duncan, American Crossroads has pledged to raise $50 million to beat Democrats in the midterms and has been seen by some as a competitor to the Republican National Committee itself.

And despite the group’s description of itself as “grassroots,” Salon’s review of its IRS filings show that four billionaires have contributed 97 percent of the $4.7 million it has raised to date. There are no limits on how much corporations, unions, and individuals can donate to 527 groups.

Elliott notes that two of the billionaire donors “made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.” One, Harold Simmons, “was the sole funder” of “a group that ran ads attempting to tie Obama to Bill Ayers in 2008.” Rove acknowledged earlier this month that his group raises money successfully largely because the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the door to unlimited corporate donations in politics.

William Tomasko