Unprecedented: Outside Republican Groups Led by Rove Joined Forces to Torch Dems
"The Democrats brought a bat, and the Republicans brought a grenade." That's how Dave Levinthal, of campaign cash-tracking Center for Responsive Politics, described the dollars that flooded the right wing this election season, and the imbalance was indeed gross. The numbers are in, and the right outspent Dems 2 to 1, with over $187 million in expenditures up by $19 million in 2006. And while the outsized spending is no surprise in the wake of the Supreme Court's unleashing of corporate pocketbooks earlier this year, the way in which it was distributed was more curious.
In an unprecedented collaboration, outside Republican groups pooled their information in an effort to organize and take out specific Democrats with concentrated ad buys, reports Politico. Led by Karl Rove, who hosted the first strategic meeting at his home, the “Weaver Terrace” sessions led to deep-pocketed groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and Rove's own American Crossroads sharing their TV-time information and target candidates in order to torch as many Dems as possible across a wide swathe of the country. And while the Republican Congressional Committee could not legally collaborate with the posse, they made their information public, which allowed the big-money right-wingers not to overlap their spending.
With the inclusion of the American Action Network and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the Chamber and Crossroads accounted for the top four donors to Republican campaigns, totaling $97.7 million alone. These were the biggest groups involved in the Weaver Terrace sessions, with their ultimate goal set on corporate interests, but the effort encompassed over 30 different factions–including the anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List, which targeted Pennsylvania's anti-choice/pro-health care Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper, who lost. In Politico's assessment, the coalition also helped lead to the demise of Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak, Chris Carney, and Paul Kanjorsky, among others.
Levinthal from the Center for Responsive Politics sees no end to the Republican spending spree. "If you think spending is out of control by outside groups, it likely will blow your mind in the presidential election."
Read the full story at Politico.