Dispatches from the Creation Wars

American Crossroads, the 527 group founded by Karl Rove, describes itself as a “grassroots” organization that is all about looking after “main street America.”

After the financial crisis that began in October 2008, Main Street Americans went back to brown bag lunches and coupon-clipping. But the Democrat leadership that took over Washington that year continues to live an expense-account lifestyle: giving away our hard-earned tax dollars as bailouts to their special interest friends, running up massive debts and jet-setting all over the globe at our expense.

That’s why our mission at American Crossroads is to make Main Street values–individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and strong national security–once again the top priorities and guiding ethic of American governance.


But as Salon.com points out, the organization is funded almost solely by four billionaires, three of them from Dallas, Texas and two of whom made their fortunes in oil and gas:

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. The group has already burned through $600,000 on ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is facing a reelection contest against Republican Sharron Angle (see one of the spots below). 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.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with getting support from wealthy benefactors, of course; I work for an organization that does so as well. But if you’re going to cast yourself in the role of main street populist, it looks a little silly. Effective, of course, but silly.