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Thread: Its easier then ever to buy elections

  1. #1

    Its easier then ever to buy elections

    [SIZE="4"][B]Crossroads: the ATM of the Right[/B][/SIZE]
    By: Kenneth P. Vogel
    April 18, 2012 04:38 AM EDT

    The Karl Rove-linked Crossroads groups are known for their multimillion-dollar ad campaigns attacking President Barack Obama, but behind the scenes they’ve also emerged as financiers of a network of conservative groups that look to them for not just cash — but strategy.

    The Rove groups have been operating as a clearinghouse of sorts, doling out more than $17 million to a range of conservative groups, according to recently released tax forms, including several that participate in the Crossroads-coordinated Weaver Terrace Group strategy sessions, such as Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, the 60 Plus Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

    The giving keeps Crossroads at the center of an ascendant network of big-money conservative groups conceived or encouraged by Rove and fellow Bush-era GOP operative Ed Gillespie. Plus, it could help Crossroads quell critics who say they are flouting provisions in the Tax Code.

    Crossroads’s role as a funder of the right was intended to mimic — and help offset — the millions of dollars that labor unions for years have directed to an array of liberal groups that help Democrats, including environmentalist and gay-rights outfits and, more recently, Democratic super PACs.

    “The unions have spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars in this way,” asserted Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. Crossroads is merely taking “a page out of the unions’ playbook by supporting philosophically aligned groups that share many of the same policy goals and have complementary assets,” he told POLITICO, adding that the “cross-fertilization of like-minded groups is critical to building an infrastructure for long-term policy change.”

    The extent of Crossroads’s money role was revealed Tuesday when Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies – the shadowy nonprofit sister of the better known American Crossroads super PAC — released its tax filings for 2010 and 2011.

    Crossroads GPS, as the group is known, directed major grants to Americans for Tax Reform, American Action Network, the 60 Plus Association, National Right to Life, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, according to the tax forms.

    The forms show that Crossroads GPS raised nearly $77 million between its incorporation in May 2010 and the end of 2011, primarily from a couple dozen contributions of $1 million or more — including two $10 million donations — and also revealed that Crossroads President Steven Law earned about $600,000 last year.

    It’s the first financial disclosure by Crossroads GPS and it shows that the nonprofit’s fundraising has surpassed that of its super PAC sibling American Crossroads.

    Together, the groups have pledged to spend as much as $300 million hitting Obama and his Democratic congressional allies.

    American Crossroads, which previously revealed a $1.2 million 2010 donation to Gillespie’s Republican State Leadership Committee, is obligated to reveal its finances, including its donors, on a regular basis. But Crossroads GPS is registered under a section of the Internal Revenue Service code — 501(c)(4)that doesn’t require donor disclosure. However, such 501(c)(4) groups are obligated to spend a majority of their cash on non-political “social welfare” purposes, and that requirement may help explain GPS’s donations.

    Law and Mike Duncan, another Rove ally involved in Crossroads, initially dismissed the idea of starting a 501(c)(4) group, asserting they favored “lots of money in politics and full disclosure in politics.” But they spun off Crossroads GPS as American Crossroads was struggling to show strong fundraising in its early days.

    Crossroads GPS’s tax filings explain that the group’s grants “are accompanied by a letter of transmittal stating that the funds are to be used for exempt purposes, and not for political expenditures,” and that GPS “carefully evaluates the missions and activities of recipient organizations prior to making any grants to ensure that funds are used only for exempt purposes.”

    Advocates for stricter campaign finance rules have complained to the IRS that Crossroads GPS and other 501(c)(4) nonprofits across the political spectrum, including the pro-Obama Priorities USA, are violating their tax status by focusing on election advertising.

    Two such campaign finance advocacy outfits, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, on Tuesday wrote to the IRS, calling for it “to investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against” Crossroads GPS, as well as Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect — “other organizations which we believe are improperly claiming status under section 501(c)(4).”

    Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer accused Rove and Crossroads GPS of “thumbing their nose at the American people” by “injecting secret, million-dollar and multimillion-dollar contributions into federal elections in direct conflict with the basic right of citizens to know the donors financing campaign expenditures to influence their votes.”

    Some of the groups that received GPS funding wouldn’t specify precisely how they used the cash.

    Lisa Goeas, an executive at the National Federation of Independent Business, which accepted $3.7 million from GPS in 2010, told POLITICO that “Crossroads GPS saw a good partner in NFIB because of the work that we do and provided an unrestricted grant to help NFIB amplify our voice on issues long established as important to our membership.”

    And the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action used the $600,000 it got from GPS in 2010 “to educate Americans on the importance of our constitutional freedoms,” said Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman. He added, “We will not discuss any further details.”

    Some of the groups that received GPS funding directly participate in the so-called Weaver Terrace Group strategy sessions held regularly in Crossroads’s downtown Washington offices, where groups coordinate advertising strategy for different races across the country.

    American Action Network, which accepted $500,000 from GPS in 2010, is a core member. Other attendees include NFIB; Americans for Tax Reform, which accepted $4 million from GPS; the 60 Plus Association, which accepted $50,000 from GPS; as well as the Republican Jewish Coalition. That group shares a pair of board members with American Action Network — former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and veteran fundraiser Fred Malek — and in 2010, it donated $4 million each to Crossroads GPS and American Action Network, according to its tax filings.

    GPS’s tax filings, meanwhile, show that it gave a small fraction of that — $250,000 — to the group.

    Someone close to the RJC told POLITICO that the donations to GPS were “merely a function of us raising more money than we needed to run our organization and so wanting to find groups that could use those resources more effectively.”

    [url]http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=D1E422E9-801D-4A80-9FD6-870A6719B97B[/url]

  2. #2
    Jets Insider VIP
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    50 percent of the country pays NO TAX....

    THAT IS buying votes.

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=southparkcpa;4438182]50 percent of the country pays NO TAX....

    THAT IS buying votes.[/QUOTE]

    Really, that's your reaction to that article?

    Left or right, this stuff stinks.

  4. #4
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    Why buy votes when you can steal them for free?

    Well, sometimes they cost a van ride and a pack of smokes, but still.......

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=FF2®;4438206]Really, that's your reaction to that article?

    Left or right, this stuff stinks.[/QUOTE]

    I went to public schools... I cant read that much. ;)

    Speaking of which..our resident "Dictatorial" education guru

    Shouldn't it be "THAN" not "THEN"???? Ever, in the thread title?

    Teaching our children and your grammar is that poor? kidding of course.
    Last edited by southparkcpa; 04-18-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  6. #6
    Until we have a clean tax reform bill and reduce the regulations and control of our economy by big government, investing in government will continue to pay big dividends.

    Companies, Unions, polluters, farmers, environmentalists, health care providers, Insurance companies, oil companies, home builders, home owners, Church's, charities all have an incentive to invest in government action.

    What all this is really about is the stifling of free markets through government action to give someone an edge. It pays to invest in class warefare and protecting markets from new entrants. A smaller government will attract a lot less money.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=shakin318;4438219]Why buy votes when you can steal them for free?

    Well, sometimes they cost a van ride and a pack of smokes, but still.......[/QUOTE]

    That's why dead people are the way to go: they don't smoke.

  8. #8
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    The system is so rigged it's disgusting.

    Comprehensive tax reform and campaign finance reform are the only paths back to an honest system of government.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;4438123][SIZE="4"][B]Crossroads: the ATM of the Right[/B][/SIZE]
    By: Kenneth P. Vogel
    April 18, 2012 04:38 AM EDT

    Crossroads’s role as a funder of the right was intended to mimic — and help offset — the millions of dollars that labor unions for years have directed to an array of liberal groups that help Democrats, including environmentalist and gay-rights outfits and, more recently, Democratic super PACs.

    [/QUOTE]

    These groups suck.
    But I love how the author and the OP gloss over this statement, which makes the title of the article laughable in it's finger pointing at the right.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=parafly;4438334]The system is so rigged it's disgusting.

    Comprehensive tax reform and campaign finance reform are the only paths back to an honest system of government.[/QUOTE]

    and banning lobbyist......:yes:

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=ucrenegade;4438564]and banning lobbyist......:yes:[/QUOTE]

    Agreed, and that would be achieved through campaign finance reform.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=parafly;4438579]Agreed, and that would be achieved through campaign finance reform.[/QUOTE]

    Anything to make the goverment larger and less responsive to the people it impacts. Great thinking.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4438605]Anything to make the goverment larger and less responsive to the people it impacts. Great thinking.[/QUOTE]

    If you want more government representation and responsiveness for "the people it impacts," then expand the number of legislators in the House of Representatives. The Representative to population ratio is ridiculously low at this stage of our history.

    Framing the banning of lobbyists as larger and less responsive government is completely misguided in my opinion. Lobbyists work for their respective corporations, unions, or industries, not for the people.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=parafly;4438614]If you want more government representation and responsiveness for "the people it impacts," then expand the number of legislators in the House of Representatives. The Representative to population ratio is ridiculously low at this stage of our history.

    Framing the banning of lobbyists as larger and less responsive government is completely misguided in my opinion. Lobbyists work for their respective corporations, unions, or industries, not for the people.[/QUOTE]

    In case you missed it lobbyists are hired by people. People with interests. Democratic governments are formed by putting together people with interests who have a right to make their interests known to that government.

    The idea that a company, union, or person with an interest in a piece of legislation shouldn't have the right to be heard by our representatives is an affront to the idea of free speech a free press and the right to assemble.

    When you have government expanding it's power base everyday at the expense of people, businesses, environmental groups, etc., etc., etc., those impacted have a right and an obligation in some cases to make their case directly.

    Should an environmental group not be heard on a piece of legislation about a pipeline that carries oil through a water table. Should an oil company not have the same right?
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 04-18-2012 at 01:55 PM.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4438631]In case you missed it lobbyists are hired by people. People with interests. Democratic governments are formed by putting together people with interests who have a right to make their interests known to that government.

    The idea that a company, union, or person with an interest in a piece of legislation shouldn't have the right to be heard by our representatives is an affront to the idea of free speach a free press and the right to assemble.

    When you have government expanding it's power base everyday at the expense of people, businesses, environmental groups, etc., etc., etc., those impacted have a right and an obligation in some casses to make their case directly.

    Should an environmental group not be heard on a piece of legislation about a pipeline that carries oil through a water table. Should an oil company not have the same right?[/QUOTE]

    My gripe is not with groups having a "voice," it's the corruption associated with it.

    The term "lobby" is extremely loaded, but in principle, it is possible to build an effective, responsive, and representative system of government around groups which lobby for specific causes. The issue is with its current real world application and influence, which breeds a culture of corruption.

    I stand by my statement that the House of Representatives should be expanded. If the proper representation of the people was already in place, the need for lobbyists would be greatly diminished.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=parafly;4438643]My gripe is not with groups having a "voice," it's the corruption associated with it.

    The term "lobby" is extremely loaded, but in principle, it is possible to build an effective, responsive, and representative system of government around groups which lobby for specific causes. The issue is with its current real world application and influence, which breeds a culture of corruption.

    I stand by my statement that the House of Representatives should be expanded. If the proper representation of the people was already in place, the need for lobbyists would be greatly diminished.[/QUOTE]

    As long as government continues to expand which it has for my entire lifetime, government will attact more money to impact its decisions. Think about it.

    As government continues to expand the stakes get higher and as stakes get higher corruption increases.
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 04-18-2012 at 02:04 PM.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4438631]In case you missed it lobbyists are hired by people. People with interests. Democratic governments are formed by putting together people with interests who have a right to make their interests known to that government.

    The idea that a company, union, or person with an interest in a piece of legislation shouldn't have the right to be heard by our representatives is an affront to the idea of free speech a free press and the right to assemble.

    When you have government expanding it's power base everyday at the expense of people, businesses, environmental groups, etc., etc., etc., those impacted have a right and an obligation in some cases to make their case directly.

    Should an environmental group not be heard on a piece of legislation about a pipeline that carries oil through a water table. Should an oil company not have the same right?[/QUOTE]


    oh i think they should be able to say what they want but I think they should be banned from donating to politicians.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=ucrenegade;4438687]oh i think they should be able to say what they want but I think they should be banned from donating to politicians.[/QUOTE]

    If someone can come up with a fair plan isn't politically benificial to their own POV let me hear it. Like tax reform that ends popular deductions, it's not happening.

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