Conservative group American Crossroads, launched barely six months ago with help from GOP uber-consultants Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove, has raised $17.6 million through August 20, the group’s president Steven Law told the Center for Public Integrity.
The announced goal of American Crossroads is to raise at least $52 million to help two to three dozen Senate and House candidates in key races in November. This afternoon, the group will begin airing two new television issue ads in Missouri and Nevada. Each ad is slated to run for three weeks and the combined buys total just over $2 million.
The ads, both focusing in part on this year’s big health care overhaul, are designed to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada and Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan in Missouri. American Crossroads has already spent some $600,000 on ads in Nevada attacking Reid on different issues, one of which was criticized by independent analysts for using information that was outdated and inaccurate.
The group will be stepping up its ad spending in other states this month to boost GOP Senate candidates, Law said, and it expects to begin running ads to help a dozen or two House candidates in September.
In coming weeks American Crossroads will also finalize plans for an ambitious get-out-the-vote effort aimed at bringing Republicans and conservative-leaning independents to the polls in November. The group expects to announce those plans by the end of August, Law said.
The get-out-the-vote effort is a potentially significant step given the fear of many GOP operatives that the Republican National Committee is likely to cut funds targeted at encouraging voters to go to the polls. The reason: RNC’s budget shortfalls caused by lackluster fundraising under RNC chairman Michael Steele.
The new fundraising total for American Crossroads includes monies hauled in by two separate units: the group’s original “527” arm, and its more recently launched 501© (4) affiliate, known as Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies or Crossroads GPS, Law said. The new totals reflect a dramatic rise from late June, when those units reported having raised a combined total of $9.8 million. Each arm of the group can legally accept unlimited donations from individuals and companies, but a 527 has to file monthly reports on its contributions with the IRS. The 501©(4) provides donors anonymity and does not have to file any federal reports until early 2011.
The 527 arm disclosed in its latest filing that it pulled in just over $2 million in July. The lion’s share came in two separate $1 million donations: one from Dixie Rice Agricultural Corp., a firm in which Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons is a major investor, and another from a trust controlled by Jerry Perenchio, a long time donor to conservative groups. The group’s prior IRS report showed that another company that Simmons owns, Southwest Louisiana Land, gave $1 million; and three other billionaires, two of whom are Texas based oil moguls, also kicked in at least $1 million to the 527.