New York (CNN) - A Republican group under attack from Democrats for running political television ads without disclosing its donors is firing back, accusing a senior Democratic official of hypocrisy.
Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse is helping lead the Democratic charge against GOP groups like American Crossroads. He sent an email Thursday decrying the "growing and pernicious effects of secret, special interest money being used to determine the outcome of our elections."
A spokesman for American Crossroads tells CNN that Woodhouse is being hypocritical, because before going to the DNC, Woodhouse ran a Democratic outside group called Americans United For Change, which accepted contributions without disclosing its donors.
"Instead of focusing on job creation and fixing the economy, Obama and the Democrats have sadly spent their time and resources launching a phony, hypocritical and inept attack on their political adversaries," said Collegio, whose group American Crossroads, organized in part by Karl Rove, is spending tens of million of dollars in advertising to defeat Democratic candidates.
Collegio argues that Americans United for Change is a 501(c) organization, set up like American Crossroads and other GOP organizations Democrats are going after.
Woodhouse admits that his organization did not disclose its donors, but insists the group did not go as far as GOP groups are in running ads attacking candidates right before an election.
"While Rove's group has run dozens of political attack ads assailing candidates just in the past few weeks, Americans United in six years in business has never run a single such ad during the election season. Not once. Americans United was never under the jurisdiction of the Federal Elections Commission but Rove's group is because running political attack ads is all it does," says Woodhouse.
"I understand that Karl Rove and groups like his are taking on water on this issue and that he wants to drag others down into the mud with him, but he's going have to find another pig to wrestle with. This dog don't hunt," Woodhouse said.
During the Bush years, Woodhouse's Americans United For Change focused its resources and advertisements on issues like Social Security, Medicare and the Iraq War.
For example, one television ad the group ran in July 2007 in Minnesota against former Sen. Norm Coleman said "Norm Coleman is still standing with President Bush on Iraq. Tell Norm Coleman after four years, it's time to end the war."
Woodhouse insists that ad is very different from the ads American Crossroads is running this close to an election, calling for voters to throw out Democratic candidates.