First on CNN: Tea party activists bomb list of Crossroads donors
March 14th, 2013
02:02 PM ET
1 year ago

First on CNN: Tea party activists bomb list of Crossroads donors

(CNN) - About 200 donors to Karl Rove's group "American Crossroads" may be receiving an interesting letter soon: Don't donate to American Crossroads.

Conservative activist Brent Bozell, chairman of the group ForAmerica, obtained the list and plans to send a letter blasting Crossroads' role in last year's election and the creation of its new independent group for the 2014 mid-term elections.

Rove, the former top political adviser to President George W. Bush, generated strong pushback from tea party groups earlier this year when he announced the formation of another offshoot, "Conservative Victory Project," dedicated to helping electable candidates sail through Republican primaries.

"Mr. Rove and his allies must stop blaming conservatives for his disastrous results," the letter read. "It is time for him to take ownership of his record. He must also stop posturing himself as a conservative: his record supporting wasteful government spending and moderate candidates over conservatives spans decades."

Leaders from other conservative and tea party groups–including Tea Party Patriots, Family Research Council, Tea Party Express–co-signed the letter, which went to donors who've made six- or seven-figure contributions to Crossroads.

During the last cycle, American Crossroads and its non-profit arm, Crossroads GPS, spent more than $104 million on federal elections with a success rate of 1.3%, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Regardless of its success rate in 2012, Crossroads played a major role in the election and in the 2010 mid-terms, when Republicans took back the House of Representatives.

The letter, however, points to the multiple 2012 Senate races in which Crossroads spent money against the Democratic candidate, yet the Republican candidate failed to win. Those include races include Wisconsin, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and North Dakota.

"As conservative leaders who represent millions of grassroots conservatives, we strongly urge you to consider this information as you are making your decisions about political giving in the future," the letter concluded.

Critics, including Bozell, argue Rove is using the Conservative Victory Project to push out tea party voices from the Republican Party. He's expected to make the same argument when he speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

"Now, in an attempt to explain the astonishingly low return on the hundreds of millions of dollars investment in Crossroads, Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the tea party," the letter read.

Asked for a response, American Crossroads communications director Jonathan Collegio said: "We are relentlessly focused on stopping President Obama’s agenda, winning the Senate and expanding the conservative majority in the House.”

And Rove has previously said he's not looking for a fight.

"Our object is not to be for the establishment, it's to be for the most conservative candidate that can win," Rove said last month during an appearance on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor.

"This is not tea party versus establishment," he continued, pointing to Crossroads' past support for candidates like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, both of whom were backed by national tea party groups in 2010.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

– UPDATE: An earlier version of the story stated the letters would be sent through email.

Dear

You have likely heard over the last several weeks about a new effort called the Conservative Victory Project that will be supported by Karl Rove and the Crossroads organizations. Their stated purpose is to identify conservative candidates in Republican primaries capable of winning elections. As leaders in the conservative movement who have been active in conservative and Republican politics for decades, we are writing to set the record straight.

The 2012 election cycle saw our first billion-dollar campaign. Recently, the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation did an analysis of the money spent. They measured the effectiveness of

political spending by the amount of money spent on a successful effort—either electing a chosen candidate or defeating a chosen candidate. They found that the success rate of the Crossroads effort was 1.29%.

Now, in an attempt to explain the astonishingly low return on the hundreds of millions of dollars investment in Crossroads, Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the

tea party. But a simple analysis shows this to be simply untrue. In 2012, the only Senate Republican winners were Jeff Flake, Deb Fischer, and Ted Cruz—all of whom enjoyed significant tea party and conservative support. Meanwhile, more moderate candidates like Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Rick Berg, and Denny Rehberg went down to defeat despite significant support from Crossroads.

It was firmly expected that Republicans would capture the Senate in 2012. It is inexcusable that they failed and, in fact, lost two seats. The facts speak for themselves. It was not conservatives.

Not one moderate Republican challenger won. According to the Sunlight Foundation, not one Senate challenger supported by Crossroads won.

There was another, equally important reason Republicans fared so poorly: Groups like Crossroads squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in what were arguably the most inept campaign advertising efforts ever.

Mr. Rove and his allies must stop blaming conservatives for his disastrous results. It is time for him to take ownership of his record. He must also stop posturing himself as a conservative: his record supporting wasteful government spending and moderate candidates over conservatives spans decades.

No matter how he positions himself in this attempt at damage control, Mr. Rove's efforts will not elect the type of leaders who will come to Washington to fight for conservative principles. In fact, they are likely to stifle the emergence of candidates like Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul. Further, the model that will be employed by the Conservative Victory Project has proven to be ineffective and a waste of political resources.

As conservative leaders who represent millions of grassroots conservatives, we strongly urge you to consider this information as you are making your decisions about political giving in the future.

Signed,

L. Brent Bozell
Chairman, ForAmerica

Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder, Tea Party Patriots

Richard Viguerie
Chairman, Conservative HQ

David Bossie
President, Citizens United

Amy Kremer
Chairman, Tea Party Express

Hon. Ken Blackwell
President, Constitutional Congress Inc.

William Walton
Rappahannock Ventures

Diana Banister
Director, Citizens for the Republic

Kay R. Daly
President, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Elaine Donnelly
President of the Center for Military Readiness

Brian Brown
President, National Organization for Marriage
Chairman, ActRight.com

Curt Levey
President, Committee for Justice

Phil Burress
Chairman, Citizens for Community Values Action

Susan A. Carleson
President, The American Civil Rights Union

Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer

Ralph Benko
Forbes.com Contributor

Frank Gaffney
President, Center for Security Policy * (* for identification purposes only)

Tony Perkins
President of the Family Research Council.


Filed under: Fundraising • Karl Rove • Tea Party
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Ron

    This is what fundamentalists do–right wing or left wing–they turn on their own because there is always someone who is never pure enough. Hopefully they will destroy each other and maybe we can get back to a government that, although not "pure" and not perfect, never-the-less functions.

    March 14, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. LouAZ

    And the circular firing squad just keeps rolling along. Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of men.

    March 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    First on CNN:
    Tea party activists bomb list of Crossroads donors

    CNN...
    Tea Party & Bomb

    Now that's... "reporting !!!

    March 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Dont' change a thing GOBP tea potty. Everything is fine.

    March 14, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. bearNj

    A lot of misinformation on this thread. The Conservative/Tea Party stands for fiscal sanity against an out of control government. Obama has added 6 TRILLION to the nation debt after the Rino Bush added 4 TRILLION and all the Democrats claims we don't have a looming debt crisis.These are the same political hacks that said FANNIE and FREDDIE MAC was sound before the banking crisis in 2008.
    As far as the tea party being against sound policies. Obama wouldn't know a sound economic policy if it hit him in the head. He's a social justice radical leftist. wake up. Obamacare is going to cost thousands their jobs. The Tea Party has called both parties into account for out of control spending. It also defeated Rove's white establishment Republicans in the South with Red states giving the country two hispanic senators (Cruz, Rubio) two indian governors (Haley, Jindal) and the only African American Senator (Scott) plus former congressman Allen West who the establishment gerrymandered out of his seat with a new district. All of these Tea Party favorites were elected by majority white voters over white GOP Establishment types because of their principals and policy positions .

    March 14, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. w l jones

    He is back!!!! peddler!!!!!!

    March 14, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "It's a pretty scary thought, but Rovians just might be the "good guy" in this civil war, Rove vs. Rand."

    I'm not buying any good cop bad cop crap here. I don't care which one's the head and which one's the tail....it's all part of the same serpent...which has now decided to swallow itself, and that makes me happy.
    -------------
    Don't get me wrong. Both sides are bad, worse and worser. I'd rather see both factions go away, but that's not going to happen just yet. One of them is going to have to fade away, so that the winner can take 3 big swings and miss. Hopefully, this winner will be the future loser in the next civil and be replaced by something much more palatable.

    March 14, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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