Super PAC Donor Meeting Reveals Yet Another Rove Ethics Problem
Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News political analyst Karl Rove effusively praised former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and floated him as a possible "Secretary of State, Defense, or Treasury" in a Romney administration. Rove did not disclose that Bush has been actively helping his American Crossroads super PAC raise funds this election season.
Bloomberg Businessweek's Sheelah Kolhatkar reported on a briefing Rove gave yesterday morning at the Republican National Convention to "about 70 of the Republican party's highest-earning and most powerful donors," including "hedge fund billionaires and investors." According to Kolhatkar, Rove "pleaded with his audience for more money" for his super PAC, which plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat President Obama and other Democrats in November.
Rove reportedly told a story to get donors' "juices flowing," in which Jeb Bush agreed to start making phone calls to help secure multimillion-dollar donations to Crossroads:
Just to get the "juices flowing" of the billionaires in the room, Rove shared a little anecdote. Someone he described as a "benefactor" had recently contacted him, offering to donate $10 million to be deployed in Florida--$5 million for Republican Congressman Connie Mack's Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and $5 million for the presidential race. But the donor placed two conditions on the money. One, his donation had to be matched by other donors. And two, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had to start making phone calls on their behalf. Rove paused for effect and announced: "Jeb's making phone calls for us!" The crowd erupted.
American Crossroads' total budget, Rove said, was $300 million, with $200 million of it for the presidential race, $70 million for the Senate, and $32 million for the House.
Last night, just hours after telling a room full of wealthy donors about how Jeb Bush is helping his super PAC, Rove appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to comment on Bush's convention speech.
After O'Reilly suggested Bush might be a good fit for Secretary of Education in a Romney administration, Rove responded by saying Bush is "big enough to handle one of the big three tasks. I mean Secretary of State, Defense, or Treasury." Rove also praised Bush as an "advocate of Democracy and freedom," a "smart guy," and declared his speech a "favorite tonight" based on the audience reaction.
Rove was introduced during the segment as a "Fox News political analyst." Both Rove and Jeb Bush's involvement with Crossroads were not mentioned.