Karl Rove: The Comeback Kid?

| by OpenSecrets

Karl Rove was once known by his boss, President George W. Bush, as Turd Blossom, but can his new nickname be the Comeback Kid? An article in New York Magazine explains that after numerous political setbacks, scandal and an ideologically divided party the former senior adviser to Bush "has a new lease on life" mainly in due to his political committees' fund-raising and electoral success.

American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies -- two sister organizations that Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie spearheaded -- raised and spent tens of millions of dollars on behalf of conservative candidates last year.

As Open Secrets Blog has previously reported, American Crossroads raised $28 million since its founding last March. And it poured about $22 million into independent expenditures opposing numerous Democrats and lauding several Republican candidates ahead of the November election. Independent expenditures, often television advertisements, expressly advocate for or against a specific political candidate. The money does not directly flow into a candidate's own war chest.

American Crossroads invested money in 30 races for U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. The results were generally favorable to the organization. Sixteen races -- or 53 percent -- were won by candidates American Crossroads supported or lost by candidates the group opposed.

Crossroads GPS, meanwhile, is a 501(C)4 nonprofit organization and is not required to disclose its donors. Crossroads GPS spent more than $17 million on independent expenditures and electioneering communications during the 2010 election cycle, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.

More than $15.1 million went exclusively in opposition to Democrats running for office. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alexander Giannoulias of Illinois bore the brunt of these expenditures.

Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads reportedly raised more than $71 million last year, and the groups are expected to remain a strong presence in the 2012 election cycle. As of Dec. 31, American Crossroads had more than $758,000 still in its bank account -- and this morning, the groups announced a fund-raising goal of $120 million for the 2012 election cycle to "compete with the torrent of outside money from unions and left-leaning groups."