Friday, October 8, 2010

Anti-Carnahan Attack Ads

Wow, one more week has come and gone once again. We hope you are ready for a ferocious Friday filled with funding from Carnahan’s foes!

Independent Expenditures are advertisements that either directly support or oppose the candidate but are not funded by the candidate. So there has been 205,997.43 spent in support of Carnahan but 1,152,857.02 spent in opposition. One major contributor to this opposition is American Crossroads.

American Crossroads, a PAC organized under the direction of Ed Gillespie (former RNC chairman) and Karl Rove (senior advisor to President George W. Bush). Although these two have been linked to the group they have never had official roles with the group or have ever been paid for the formation of the group. American Crossroads has also formed a partner group called Crossroads GPS under the IRS non-profit tax code 501(c)(4). Because Crossroads GPS has attained this title they do not have to disclose donors. Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, two groups who are pushing the IRS to take action against Crossroads GPS, call Crossroads GSP “brainchild of leading Republican party political operatives and is operated by former Republican part operatives” (IRS DOCUMENT).

During this campaign season American Crossroads has raised 7.9 million dollars. Together these organizations (Crossroads & Crossroads GPS) have set a goal of raising over 50 million dollars. When took a look at their FEC filings for the summer they found that 91% percent of the 2.6 million dollars American Crossroads raised in August came from 3 billionaires.

Missouri’s own, Robin Carnahan has been targeted by both Crossroads GPS, and American Crossroads. American Crossroads has spent 721,964.70 funding media buys advocating against Carnahan. Because Crossroads GPS is not technically supposed to be primarily engaged in influencing elections their total spending cannot be determined. But together these groups are investing 4.2 million dollars for media buys in 8 states (including Missouri) with closely contested Senate races. These large sums of money have recently put Crossroads GPS in the limelight.

Recently, this group has surged grabbed a lot of attention with their rambunctious attack ads slamming Robin Carnahan and her campaign to audacious ends. The ad lambasts Carnahan, asserting that her support of the Healthcare bill and “Washington” allegiance will continue to deprive Missourians of their tax dollars and their jobs. However, these attacks will not simply go through without repercussions; in fact, two main groups (Democracy 21 & Campaign Legal Center) have filed for the IRS to investigate Crossroads GPS for operating in violation of their tax status. These groups claim that due to the fact that this 501(c)(4), a label which permits them from being primarily engaged in activities to influence elections, has been operating with the main purpose being to raise funding and support to help Republican candidates gain election. If this were to be true, then many of the organizers would be revealed to the public, and then would switch to a different tax status that would be more suitable to a funding-focused PAC or 527.

Many are skeptical as to the outcome of this legal debacle, especially when looking to former leader of this IRS division, Marcus Owens, with his suspicion of the IRS even being made aware of the group’s very existence. The New York Times published a story on the 20th of September, quoting Mr. Owens as having said, “These groups are popping up like mushrooms after a rain right now, and many of them will be out of business by late November…Technically, they would have until January 2012 at the earliest to file anything with the I.R.S. It’s a farce.” More concerning still is that a report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration states, “While some of these filings may later be deemed acceptable, we determined the IRS is not reviewing these filings to determine if they are complete or if penalties should be assessed. Also, the IRS is not always issuing notices at the appropriate time that include all information needed by political organizations to become compliant. Lastly, the IRS is not following up on information it has requested from political organizations to verify compliance.” This is in regards to the Treasury’s analysis of the IRS’ efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with the 527 organizations being required to properly and fully disclose their financial information.

Although things may look bleak regarding this political organization, Robin Carnahan has been issuing her own advertisements in the hopes of pushing her campaign’s message and negating those that have been relentless in their attack ads. This wraps up our fantastic week on Robin Carnahan, we hoped you loved, laughed, and learned from these fun(d)-filled posts! We will return Monday night (10/11) as we begin our discussion of Wes Shoemeyer and his quest to attain the elusive title of State Senator!

Thank you for following this week and don’t forget: MO Funds, MO Votes!

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