Rove Admits His ‘Shadow RNC’ Attack Group Functions Largely Because Of The Citizens United Decision

Given the weak leadership of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove launched a “shadow RNC” in April called American Crossroads, vowing to spend $50 million to influence this Fall’s election. After an embarrassing first month of fundraising, Crossroads raised $8.5 million in June, “from an even split of individuals and corporations.”

On Fox News today, Rove directly credited his group’s success to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which overturned the decades-old ban on corporate money in politics:

HOST: Some suggest that the money that goes to American Crossroads might otherwise go to an organization like the RNC.

ROVE: Well that’s not correct, because American Crossroads is collecting money in excess of the individual contribution limits the RNC has allowed to give. What we’ve essentially said, is if you’ve maxed out the to senatorial committee, the congressional committee or the RNC and would like to do more, under the Citizens United decisions, you can give money to the American Crossroads 527, or Crossroads GPS, so we’re not tapping the people who — if you’ve giving to American Crossroads, you’re fully capable, in all likelihood, of giving the maximum to one of the national committee organizations.

Watch it (beginning 2:00):

Unknown iFrame situation

Watch the latest news video at

While some reports have downplayed the impact of Citizens United on this year’s election, Rove seems to be acknowledging that his high-profile group relies on the decision for its fundraising. If Crossroads and the other new conservative attack groups raise the tens of millions of dollars they plan to spend this year from corporate donors — as Crossroads has — then the impact of the decision could be huge.


Rove explained that his donors are those who have “maxed out” contributions to the RNC and other national committees, but the individual contribution limit to these groups is $30,400 per election cycle, so Rove is clearly focused on the wealthiest of donors. As Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson noted, “By building a war chest of unregulated campaign cash…Rove would be able to wage the midterm elections on his own terms: electing candidates loyal to the GOP’s wealthiest donors and corporate patrons. With the media’s attention diverted by the noisy revolt being waged by the Tea Party, the man known as ‘Bush’s brain’ was staging a stealthier but no less significant coup of the Republican Party.”