Bush's Brain. That's not meant
as a compliment.
Mitt Romney's weekend retreat for his top fundraisers, "two days of policy sessions and campaign strategy discussions," according to
, includes exceedingly prominent Super PAC adviser Karl Rove—and it's creating a bit of a stir. That whole "campaign strategy discussions" bit would be illegal, since Super PACs like Rove's American Crossroads are not allowed to coordinate campaign strategies with candidates. Since we here at Daily Kos would never presume someone as upstanding as Karl Rove (cough) would be involved with something illegal, untoward or otherwise sleazy (cough), we can only assume the plan is for Karl Rove (cough) to hide under his chair for those parts.
But it's getting attention. The Obama campaign's chief lawyer, Bob Bauer, is currently in the middle of an exchange with Rove over the matter (well, now it's also about Rove lying his very Republican ass off on Fox News about Bob Bauer). As far as lawyer fights go, this one could be pretty fun. Some excerpts:
You suggest that Crossroads is clearly a "social welfare organization" engaged in issue advocacy. But just this morning, in The Wall Street Journal, you boast about the role that Crossroads is playing in helping Governor Romney shrink "the campaign money gap". Karl Rove, "Romney Shrinks the Campaign Money Gap", The Wall Street Journal (June 21, 2012) [link]
While you somehow believe that just describing Crossroads activities as "policy"-focused is enough to spare the organization any disclosure requirements, your choice of labeling does not by law determine the nature of your product. This is precisely the position taken by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
And, of course, in neither this column nor your Fox appearance do you mention that your organization has also made millions of dollars in so-called independent expenditures—that is expenditures that are expressly campaign-related and reportable to the Federal Election Commission. You also fail to note was that Crossroads has refused to disclose the donations used to make even these clear-cut campaign expenditures. The FEC has asked for this doner information; Crossroads has refused. [...]
I look forward to your response, including the correction of the record about my representations. I understand that you will be traveling to join Governor Romney this weekend at a luxury fundraising event in Utah—an appearance that press reports not "could raise questions because of campaign finance laws barring any coordination between super PACs and actual campaigns". Phillip Rucker, "Romney Plans Posh Weekend Donor Retreat Featuring Karl Rove and VP", (June 20, 2012) [link] But I would ask that this trip not delay the immediate correction of your misstatements that I am requesting.
I'm not sure anyone can credibly argue that Crossroads is issue-oriented and not candidate-oriented; a mere scan through the attack ads they've put out against Romney opponents would seem to nix that premise right there. And I'm not sure Crossroads has a leg to stand on in refusing to disclose donor information to the FEC. Whether the FEC will do anything about it (or even can do anything about it, given the ridiculous weakness of campaign finance laws when it comes to Super PACs, and thank you very much
, Supreme Court, for foisting this new bit of corporatized campaign rancidness upon us) isn't yet clear. But at least people are finally beginning to ask the questions.