Karl Rove 'Issue Ads' Attacking Elizabeth Warren Help Hide His Group's Donors
According to a Huffington Post review of Crossroads GPS press releases, the group has spent $26 million on issue ads in 2011, nearly matching the $26.4 million the group spent in 2010 on direct electoral ads. This is the shape of the new campaign finance reality created by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. That ruling allowed corporations and unions to freely participate in elections by funding or running independent campaigns that support or oppose candidates. Nonprofits were freed to do the same with the added benefit of not having to disclose their donors to the public.Nonprofits, however, were saddled with one requirement. To qualify for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service, groups must spend more than 50 percent of their funds on non-electoral efforts. To help meet that 50 percent threshold, nonprofits like Crossroads GPS have been pouring money into issue ads aimed at lawmakers in contested districts."They are running what they characterize as issue ads now, and they are doing so largely to balance their books to make their best efforts to comply with IRS rules," said Paul Ryan, the FEC director at the Campaign Legal Center.