Original Link: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2012/04/more-than-half-the-money.html/
By Wayne Slater/Reporter
More than half the money raised by the Karl Rove-affiliated super PAC American Crossroads has come from three Texans – Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, Houston home builder Bob Perry and Dallas hotel and energy executive Robert Rowling. According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, the trio collectively has donated $30.5 million – or just over 54 percent of the PAC’s revenue this election cycle. Rove and GOP colleague Ed Gillespie were involved in forming American Crossroads and a sister PAC, Crossroads GPS in 2010 as a way to raise big money for political campaigns. A 2010 Supreme Court decision cleared the way for super PACs to collect unlimited donations from individuals and corporations – and the Crossroads political committees have been among the most aggressive in raising money in this presidential year. In an interview last week, Rove said he hopes to spend $300 million electing Republicans.
Simmons, Perry and Rowling were among a handful of wealthy Texas donors that Rove began cultivating in the 1980s to fuel the campaigns of Gov. Bill Clements, agriculture commission hopeful Rick Perry, business-friendly candidates to the Texas Supreme Court and George W. Bush beginning with his first race for governor in 1994. Simmons and Perry helped bankroll the Swift Boat Veterans group attacked Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Both men have been beneficiaries of government decisions – Simmons winning approval to build a nuclear waste site in West Texas and Perry securing a state agency that critics say served as protection against lawsuits over defective houses. The Dallas Morning News reported in February that Simmons, Perry and Rowling were the top three donors to American Crossroads. The News reported 60 percent of American Crossroads’ money last year came from the same Texans first tapped by Rove two decades ago. The new report by the Center for Public Integrity includes money raised by the PAC through the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Unlike American Crossroads, which must identify its donors, Crossroads GPS can keep its contributors secret. And while the individual donors aren’t public, IRS filings last week indicate that nearly 90 percent of the $77 million raised so far by Crossroads GPS had come from two unidentified donors of $10 million each and nearly two dozen contributors of at least $1 million each. Under the law, American Crossroads can campaign directly for or against a candidate while Crossroads GPS is required to spend its money on ads that focus on issues rather than specific candidates. As such, Crossroads GPS has run attack ads around issues like health care in congressional districts that target Democratic candidates.
By comparison, the Democrats’ pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA has raised $8.9 million. Its only million-dollar donors are DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, comedian Bill Maher and plant conservationist Amy Goldman. The emergence of super PACs have allowed political donors to give unlimited sums. According to FEC reports, the biggest super PAC contributors to date are casino executive Sheldon Adelson and family member, $16.5 million to a pro-Newt Gingrich PAC; Simmons, $15.4 million to various GOP committees; Perry, $6.6 million to Crossroads and various committees and Dallas real estate executive Harlan Crow, $1 million to Crossroads and other GOP committees.