The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Karl Rove. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karl Rove. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Karl Rove: King Of The MisRepresentation Political Ad Strikes Again.

In 2008, Karl Rove worked like a Beaver out of water to give John McCain and (you know who) Sarah Palin an edge in their campaign to defeat Barack H. Obama in their 2008 race to the White House. Rove is a political operative who has been "in bed" with GOP presidential candidates and administrations back as far as Ronald Reagan. His handy work can be found in the horrific and racist Willie Horton commercial against Michael Dukakis. He was also a top operative who's handy work spans through the more recent Mitt Romney campaign. Sandwiched between his operative election activities, he served the full eight years with George W. Bush. If you are the least bit politically inquisitive, you may remember the 1988 Willie Horton George H. W. Bush campaign ad. Carl Rove was the operative behind that team that developed and promulgated the historic ad. The names Lee Atwater and Floyd Brown ring home like a resounding echo for a humongous Asian wind chime.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rove dredges up Floyd Brown, the Willie Horton guy

Karl Rove is pulling out all stops in his racist, slime campaign against Barack Obama. Rove and McCain have enlisted Floyd Brown, the man behind the racist 1988 Willie Horton ads. Brown’s latest video blames Obama for Chicago’s murder rate and according to the Tribune, plays on people's fears about race and crime. “Twenty years later, the racial dynamic remains,” says the Trib.
Floyd Brown:
 Capitol Hill Daily 
Fact Check Dot Org: Reprehensible Misrepresentation

"A Tasteless and Reprehensible Misrepresentation"

The salient point is the manner in which Rove and his GOP go about manipulating minds. The Willie Horton commercial as stated above, has gone down in US political history. If we consider false character assassination George W. Bush's "Swift Boats" ads were as despicable as it gets.  Even George W. was reported to have "pull and shelved" the anti-John Kerry commercials.

Outright lies and manipulation.

Well, Rove is on his operative horse and riding roughshod over whoever wins the GOP nomination in 2016.

His latest American Crossroads ad illustrates Rove as a manipulative operative who literally earns millions off the psyches of Americans who accepts his "wares" as reality. The following is Rove at his Right-wig best or worse, depending on your perspective. The ad is a Internet ad (to date) that finds images of Hillary Clinton standing with and interacting with Saudi royalty, with Elizabeth Warren's words superimposed in a voice over. Warren's comments were extracted from a recent speaking event focused the American conservatism and Right-wing dogma.

The first 59 seconds of a recent segment of MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell's The Last Word offers a quick view of the ad. If you wish O'Donnell and panel spent well over seven minutes discussing the Rove project. Some parts of the discussion were good and relevant other parts, well..... could have been left out to save airtime.  Linked here.

Karl Rove has squandered many millions from the likes of the Koch brothers and other conservative plutocrats. He has also found great success at influencing American conservatives and right leaning independents (and those ever present Libertarians). The operative should share in reflection back to he Bush Years, yet he escapes scrutiny and judgement because he has no rival in conservative America. 

Rove's latest ad is a clear example of total disregard for credible campaign advertising and a demented perspective on the American public.

America will never return to it former status as the world leader as long as operatives like Karl Rove so successfully influences you the voter. 

Rove's American Crossroads goes after Hillary with a voice over internet ad, and we as a nation are supposed to overlook this.

          Image result for bush kisses king of saudi arabia Image result for bush kisses king of saudi arabia

Maybe, we should have forgotten the real US hobnobbers after President Obama took office. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

McConnell Caught Threatening Another Government Shutdown!

How about another government shutdown from the US Senate?
What follows is more validation of my often state belief the GOP is a puppet political party for the uber wealthy. Well, beyond Mitt Romney's shadowy Boca Raton comments to wealthy dinners, Senate Minority Leaders McConnell proves the ultimate "butt-sucking" by waving yet another government shutdown for those who literally pay for obstruction. 

"So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what's called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We're going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. ... All across the federal government, we're going to go after it," McConnell said at a private summit hosted by the Koch Brothers.

The following YouTube clip is of very weak audio fidelity, but the voice is distinct as that of McConnell.

As is often the case with GOP operatives like Karl Rove, Jim Demint and Dick Armey, McConnell was caught signing to a choir that spends billions working against the president and of the United States. Whether you are an Obama hater, one who loathes Democrats and left leaning independents, or a moderate conservative, McConnell's use of the last failed GOP federal government shut-down (@$24 billion) should offend you.  If McConnell's secret meeting groveling for attending billionaires does not offend you, you are seriously wasting your time reading this piece. If you are wasting you time reading this piece, you are an existential member of the choir to, which McConnell sings.

Why does the annual Koch Brothers secret retreat always include language and presentation/speaking points that smack against middle and lower income America?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

David Edwards, The Raw Story Captures Sunday Morning Blues Via The GOP And Nationanl Networks

David Edwards, The Raw Story, had a busy morning with the GOP Sunday Morning Talk shows.  It truly is shameful the extent to which three major networks (and as expected Fox News) have transformed the former Sunday news traditions into GOP "raggamuffin" political platforms. 

Dick who? Booking the likes of Dick Cheney on televisions shows to speak about international conflict and decisions with war as a side-bar is as ridiculous as asking Dracula about the cleanliness off biting his victims neck. Seriously, Sunday morning news shows?

Dick Cheney wants Hillary Clinton ‘held accountable’ for Benghazi terror attacks (via Raw Story )
Dick Cheney, the former vice president who was in office during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and later pushed the country into war with Iraq based on faulty intelligence, said on Sunday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would…

Ben Carson: New GOP black intellectual "differentiator" and his time on the GOP Sunday Morning TV Shows. "differentiator".... "Oh,look at me I am so different from those people."

Ben Carson: ‘Anything is slavery that robs you’ like ‘neo-Marxist’ Obamacare (via Raw Story )

Conservative darling Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday defended comparing President Barack Obama’s health care law to slavery by insisting that “anything is slavery that robs your of your ability to control your own life.” Speaking to the Values Voter…

Karl Rove and his political 'dirty tricks' against Hillary Clinton.

Karl Rove shocks Fox News panel by doubling down on Hillary’s ‘brain injury’ (via Raw Story )

Republican strategist Karl Rove stunned Fox News panelists on Sunday when he refused to stop suggesting that Hillary Clinton had a “brain injury” even after his own party had shunned him for the personal attack. On Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor…

Tucker Carlson accepts "white privilege" and offers a form of rationalization!

Tucker Carlson: Pointing out my ‘white privilege’ is a ‘racist attack’ (via Raw Story )
Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday said that liberals were making a “racist attack” by pointing out that “white privilege” exists in America. During an interview on Fox News, Carlson noted that conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter had…


Karl Rove and Fox News Double-down on alleged Hillary Clinton "Brain Injury"

Karl Rove has a history as a GOP Political operative. Rove has to be the catalyst behind Rand Paul's School of Deception, mis-information and lies. We cannot lay Paul's penchant for plagiarizing borrowing material from others and passing it off as his work to Karl RovePaul's deep rooted problem with ethics and personal credibility shortcoming probably preceded his Tea Party election to the Senate. But, Paul is a student and protege of the GOP's 'fruitful liar' Karl Rove. 

Rand Paul to a group of medical students.

The Economic Policy Journal (EPJ) October 2013

The National Journal reports:
Rand Paul was talking with University of Louisville medical students when one of them tossed him a softball. "The majority of med students here today have a comprehensive exam tomorrow. I'm just wondering if you have any last-minute advice."(Steve Brodner)

"Actually, I do," said the ophthalmologist-turned-senator, who stays sharp (and keeps his license) by doing pro bono eye surgeries during congressional breaks. "I never, ever cheated. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important."

He went on to describe studying for a pathology test with friends in the library. "We spread the rumor that we knew what was on the test and it was definitely going to be all about the liver," he said. "We tried to trick all of our competing students into over-studying for the liver" and not studying much else.

"So, that's my advice," he concluded. "Misinformation works."

Rove on Obama's spending via Politics Nation,  2012 (1:42 MINUTES)

Misinformation, politicking and the life of the GOP operative.

Obviously, Fox News has "Misinformation Works" as a core vision and operational model (The Five and Shabby video editing) as the network serves as a formidable media outlet for conservative America. For some Americans misinformation is not only a "truism" it is important to their social and political paradigm. But, let's avoid deep digression into Fox News and stay on task.

While Politifact awarded President Obama "Lie Of The Year" in 2013, the following linked pages address overwhelming depth and scope of "Pants on Fire" lies. The vast majority are from Republicans.
 Of course, you will see Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chair, Obama and other Democrats in a couple of instances, the party on the Left is scarcely represented in the 14 pages of "Pants on Fire" Badges. 

This morning Fox News programming included the ever-present Rove continuing his campaign against an undeclared 2016 presidential candidate. The Rove and Fox News mission is clear: malign Hillary Clinton to the point of inducing a personal aversion to running for the presidency.

Two points about Rove, before the following reading entree from The Raw Story
If you were paid millions to serve as a political operative, would you restrict your communication to facts only? Now, consider a famous quote often used by the Father of Modern Conservatism: Ronald Reagan. "Facts are pesky things." Facts are not an ally of US conservatism its political parties the GOP and its Libertarian party cousin. The answer to the question. "No, you would serve as Karl Rove serves." 

The second point is a bit personal. Do you believe anything that comes out of Rove's mouth? I realize the answer to the question will reach into your social and political paradigm, but work with me a second. Do you consider Karl Rove a viable bringer of and "carnival barker" of facts? The answer for some of you will be like this; so we understand. You don't want to answer the question because the answer places your political paradigm and thoughts of Rove's messages in that part of your brain that houses aversion or "...don't make me do this."

The Raw Story

Karl Rove shocks Fox News panel by doubling down on Hillary’s ‘brain injury’ (via Raw Story )
Republican strategist Karl Rove stunned Fox News panelists on Sunday when he refused to stop suggesting that Hillary Clinton had a “brain injury” even after his own party had shunned him for the personal attack. On Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor…


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Did Karl Rove Pull A Jennifer Stefano?

GOP operative supremo!
If you are a curious person, as am I, it will be really super to get to the outcome of the New Jersey state legislators investigation of Chris Christie. It will be even more thrilling to see how the federal investigation culminates.

From Joe Scarborough, a variety of playbook TV pundits through Karl Rove, the necks are on the chopping block. Christie is so obviously involved in "Brigdegate Scandal" and I have strong suspicion he played tiddly-pool with Sandy relief funds.

Karl Rove has once again gone berserk about matters related to his party and its darling elected officials.  How does Rove clean-up his actions once the curtain reveals Christie for what he is?  If Rove can somehow read through the "soap-opera" (woman as objects of fault) law firm report, he should have issues with Chrisitie's extremely poor choices in filling key administration positions. Moreover, he obviously performed well below elected official expectations in managing his staff and people contracted to support his administration.  In either case, Christie has a great degree of culpability in bringing shame on the State of New Jersey.

Let's see if Karl Rove tops the performance by Jennifer Stefano as she sat for an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes.  

Karl Rove loses it after Fox guest calls Chris Christie report a ‘whitewash’ (via Raw Story )
Republican strategist Karl Rove on Sunday accused a Fox News of a personal “attack” after he called an internal investigation cleared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for closing the busiest bridge in the world for political retribution. During…


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Karl Rove "Roves-out" More False Drivel To Fox News Viewers

Bush did it better. Seriously, Karl Rove?

Karl Rove and Fox News continue to malign President Obama with George W. Bush (of all presidents) as the whipping rod. Despite growing concern for Bush Administration and CIA involvement violations of international law (torture), we continue to hear comment and advice from the un-credible and shadowy Right. We continue to hear from GOP operatives as they disparage President Obama, despite  Bush Administration economic policy and fiscal malfeasance that contributed to a worldwide economic collapse and unjustifiable wars. From Dick Cheney, through Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and the ever-present Karl Rove the barrage of inane drivel from the "dealers of doom, flows like an out of control freight train.

But, as the old adage goes...."That dog don't bark." 

Carnival barking from Rove isn't possible without a dedicated platform from which to spew rhetoric. Fox News managers and viewers partake in a symbiotic purveyor/sycophant relationship on a daily basis.  From time to time Fox programmers will schedule major right-wing operatives to feed its viewers unadulterated garbage. There are no GOP operatives more adroit at manipulation, GOP political subterfuge and outright carnival barking political garbage than Karl Rove. Rove served eight years with George W. Bush. He "no way" a credible person. Rove should have been investigated as a co-conspirator to US torture and he should have been publicly condemned for his role in the 2007/08 Bush economic collapse towards. Yet, we have to deal with his bull crap annoyances via Fox News's need to feed its viewers. What better feeding arena than Sunday Morning GOP news shows. 

Progressive social media should spread Rove's lack of veracity and manipulation far and wide.

Rove sat for Fox News Sunday (this past weekend) and laid more B/S across the ears, eyes and brains of people who obviously seek weekly doses of Obama Derangement feed. The Fox News Sunday feeding was laced with Rovian "bull" pureed with large amounts of George W. Bush fallacy.

The Tampa Bay Times investigated Rove's disparaging remarks about President Obama's handling of international crisis in the context offered by Rove: George W Bush handled such crisis more effectively
The Truth-O-Meter Says:

After Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008, the U.S. sent a "very strong message" to Vladimir Putin by sending "warships to the Black Sea" and airlifting "combat troops that Georgia had in Afghanistan" back to Georgia.

Karl Rove on Sunday, March 16th, 2014 in an interview on "Fox News Sunday"

A Russian military convoy moves past a
horse-drawn cart with local residents
outside Gori, Georgia, on Aug. 13,
2008. (Associated Press)

Mostly False

Russia and Georgia have had tense relations since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Some Republicans have been critical of President Barack Obama’s handling of Russia and President Vladimir Putin recently. The critics say that Obama has appeared weak in the face of Russia -- first, when it sent troops into the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and then when it quickly acted to annex the territory.
For instance, on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the Obama administration "is creating an air of permissiveness" toward Russian expansionism. "We do need to show long-term resolve."
Another Fox News Sunday guest, Republican strategist Karl Rove, took the opportunity to contrast Obama’s actions with those of Rove’s old boss, President George W. Bush. Rove suggested that Bush’s policies were more muscular and effective in countering Putin’s Russia.

Read more aftefr the break below


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Karl Rove Shows His "Twilight-Zone" Level of Insanity


Seriously Karl Rove?

What happens when a world leader goes against Christe's "grain?"  What happens when he allows his so obvious lack of emotional control take him to a place that is embarrassing (whether he will add it ot or not)?  Moreover, what happens if one of two of those fired former TOP aides, secures immunity and tells all?  How will that bode for your credibility (cred). Well, I have an answer. You skirted through a "cred" disasters in the 2012 election, I guess "cred" doesn't matter to you nor those who listen to you.

Christe's performance this week was both, illogical, not well thought-out, and damning in revealing his deep character flaws. 

Finally, "Karl, you served with George W. Bush, the full eight years.  Yes, "cred" is not an issue with you."

The Raw Story

Karl Rove: Bridge scandal proves Christie is ‘what we want’ in a president (via Raw Story )
Republican strategist Karl Rove asserted on Sunday that New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) handling of the George Washington Bridge Scandal showed he had the right qualities to be president of the United States. During a panel segment on Fox…


Thursday, December 12, 2013

RepresentUS: For High Information People Only (Video)

Re-blog from RepresentUS.....

As we move towards awakening to the horrors of US politics ruled by money, RepresentUS is moving towards educating those who want to be be educated.  There are millions who blindly follow and cast votes that are leading to a US plutocracy and oligarchy.  Can you imagine a world where lobbyist have the final say in all matters of federal and state governance? Well, can you imagine we are getting awful close?

If you need a basic example, we offer:

Think of the 2010 mid-terms elections and the tragedy that follows our failure to it the polls with progressive "UMPH."  Koch brothers money funneled into tax free organizations such as FreedomWorks and many others, as well as funding of the Tea Party's false premise and activities contributed to the GOP infestation of the House of Representatives.  Has the US ever witnessed a group of legislative quacks comparable to the 'crew" resulting from the 2012 mid-term?  More significantly the strategy to win in 2010 reaped GOP dividends far beyond your and my comprehension (at the time).  The party in with the House majority in January of 2011, was handed the "magic wand' of congressional redistricting just after the competed 2010 Census.  The Kochs, Karl Rove and the rest of the plutocracy mongers could ask for nothing better.

We literally gave ourselves a the Sequesters, a shutdown federal government to the tune of $24 billion, the GOP War on Women, voter suppression like never before, reduced funding of Public Education, and a GOP treasure chest of obstruction to the nation's 44th President that is unparalleled in both actuality, scope and in net-net affect on the US economy.

If we pay attention to organizations like RepresentUS and other information treasure troves, we can and will make better election decisions. Examples of types of information shared by RepresentUS is posted in the table below.

Representative Jim Himes first caught our attention when he helped push through a bill written by CitiGroup lobbyists. As it just so happens, CitiGroup is also Rep. Himes’ #1 financial backer. That’s why we decided to make a “generous donation” of our own. 
We decided to target Jim Himes because he’s emblematic of a much larger systemic problem: Our Congress is being corrupted by big money and no longer represents the people. Rep. Himes co-sponsored and helped push a bill called H.R. 992 through the House. 992 would further deregulate derivatives, a financial instrument that played a major role in the 2008 crisis (source).
Our organization doesn’t have a position on derivatives trading. What we do have a position is corruption, and this is a textbook case. The New York Times revealed that 992 was written by big bank lobbyists — 70 of the 85 lines in 992 were written by lobbyists for CitiGroup (source).
As it just so happens, Jim Himes has received more money from CitiGroup than any other member of Congress — The only politicians who received more money from CitiGroup in the 2012 election cycle were Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (source). 7 of the top 10 interests funding his campaign committee and leadership PAC were financial services institutions (source). 
The Congressman who co-sponsored a bill written by big bank lobbyists — a bill which would directly benefit big banks if it ever becomes law — is completely dependent on those same banks to get reelected. Jim Himes also sits on the House Financial Services committee. He’s supposed to regulate the financial sector, and instead he’s letting their lobbyists write our laws. It’s flagrantly corrupt, and astonishingly legal. 
What used to be a shoebox full of unmarked bills has been replaced with a handful of checks from a lobbyist. The nature of corruption has evolved, and our laws have failed to evolve with it. That’s why we’re pushing for the American Anti-Corruption Act: A law that would put and end to the legalized bribery that’s come to define modern politics. Click here to read the Act, and add your name to the petition on this page to show your support the Act and join the movement.
The following accompanies the YouTube video above.
Published on Dec 6, 2013
Rep. Jim Himes lets lobbyists and donors write our laws, so we decided to make a "generous donation" of our own. Learn more and take action at

----- Sources -----

How did your Rep vote on H.R. 992?

Contributions by Vote

On H.R. 992, derivatives regulation:

Citigroup's Involvement:

Representative Jim Himes (D - CT):

How derivatives work:


Monday, December 9, 2013

Rand Paul: A Sham Politician! Do Not Extend Unemployment Payments

We at the TPI find the following politician the perfect example of what happens when progressives and intelligent independents fail to vote. In 2010, the Koch bothers, Dick Armey, Karl Rove , Freedom Works and others on the Right, leveraged the election of Barack Obama as president to flood the voting places with angst filled voters. 


The net result was a House of Representatives laden with weird, whacked-out politicians bent of dismantling the US Government.  Rand Paul, as a Tea Party mis-carriage in the Senate, is the prototypical example of which we speak. He has as much substance as Jello (tm) and he is equally wishy-washy when pressed for cogent answers to question. Since, we know he fails to properly manager the writing of his books nor does he accomplish even a yeoman's job of tweaking his plagiarized speeches, a recent speech in Detroit, Michigan, should not surprise us at all. 

We seriously question his judgment in continuing to show-up in forums spewing libertarian "all we should do is cut taxes." garbage.  Paradigms are tough things as they tend to lay a blanket over one's mentality and anchors in place to avoid tweaking or adjustment.  What is it about Rand Paul's thinking processes that lead to "dumb" decisions to face audiences with preaching that fails to meet the test of rational thought?  He went to Howard University and had the gall to attempt to deflect from GOP bigotry, racism and anti-civil rights dogma without regard for audience intellect and knowledge. The old argument about how the GOP was Lincoln's party and southern governors fought desegregation were Democrats is as stale as an old toupee that should be replaced. The students at Howard also know of Ronald Reagan's former southern strategy (still deploy with each general election), Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, Strum Thurman, and systemic anti-civil rights paradigm of his party (the GOP). How crass, less than intelligent and frankly evidence of an inclination to deceive? If we add another dynamic of some whites who feel they are inherently more intelligent than black people, could Paul have been guilty of a form of conferred privilege that can across as deceptive?  Of course, with his issues with plagiarism, Paul's tendency to deceive is as sold as granite.

Rand Paul: Unemployment benefits program is a ‘disservice’ to black workers (via Raw Story )
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday said that he opposed extending a program to for emergency unemployment benefits because it did a “disservice” to African-American workers. During an interview on Fox News Sunday to hype Paul’s “Economic Freedom…


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Karl Rove And His Faux Tax-exempt Status

Karl Rove via ProPublica


New Tax Return Shows Karl Rove’s Group Spent Even More On Politics Than It Said 

On its 2012 tax return, GOP strategist Karl Rove’s dark money behemoth Crossroads GPS justified its status as a tax-exempt social welfare group in part by citing its grants of $35 million to other similarly aligned nonprofits. (Here’s the tax return itself, which we detailed last week.)

The return, signed under penalty of perjury, specified that the grants would be used for social welfare purposes, “and not for political expenditures, consistent with the organization’s tax-exempt mission.”
The transaction also provides a window into one way social welfare nonprofits work around the tax code’s dictate that their primary purpose cannot be influencing elections.  Grants sent from one nonprofit to another may be earmarked for social welfare purposes, but sometimes end up being used to slam or praise candidates running for office.
“They have a bad grantee here,” said Marcus Owens, the former head of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations division, who looked at the documents at ProPublica’s request. “My question would be, ‘What has Crossroads done to recover that money?’ That’s what the IRS would expect.”
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio did not respond to questions from ProPublica about Americans for Tax Reform’s use of the grant or whether Crossroads would ask for it to be refunded.
Instead, Collegio wondered whether Americans for Tax Reform could have used resources carried over from 2011 to fund the 2012 election spending, rather than money from Crossroads. “Were resources carried over from 2011?”  he asked in an email to ProPublica.
But after consulting with tax experts, ProPublica determined Americans for Tax Reform couldn’t have used resources from 2011 for the political spending.
“That’s called bullshit with a serving of horseshit on the side,” Owens said.
Americans for Tax Reform reported a total of $10.3 million in assets in the beginning of 2012. Of those assets, $8.2 million was only available on paper, an amount due from a related charity, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation. The rest –$2.1 million – was a combination of equipment, leasehold improvements, cash holdings, net accounts receivable, prepaid expenses and deferred charges. None of those amounts changed significantly by the end of 2012. In other words, the only known source for the money Americans for Tax Reform spent on politics was donations from Crossroads and others.  
Collegio didn’t respond to an email from ProPublica last Wednesday outlining how some of the Crossroads’ grant had to have been spent on election activities.
John Kartch, the spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform, also didn’t respond to ProPublica questions about the use of the Crossroads grant for politics.
Social welfare nonprofits, also known as dark money groups because they don’t have to report their donors, are allowed to spend money on politics as long as their primary purpose is social welfare. The groups often count so-called issue ads that stop short of advocating for or against a candidate and grants toward that social welfare mission. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowed corporations and unions to spend directly on election ads, these nonprofits have turned into the vehicle of choice for anonymous spending, dumping more than $254 million into the 2012 elections.
Of the 150 or so social welfare nonprofits that reported spending to the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 election cycle, Crossroads was king, the biggest anonymous spender by far. Americans for Tax Reform came in fourth, with $15.8 million.
On its 2012 tax return, made public last week, Crossroads said it gave its biggest grant,$26.4 million, to Americans for Tax Reform for “social welfare.”
In the last part of 2012, Americans for Tax Reform told the FEC it spent repeatedly on ads and mailers$15.8 million altogether on so-called “independent expenditures,” mostly in the month before the election, opposing Democrats and supporting Republicans running for Congress. (Independent expenditures tell people they should vote for or against a certain candidate.) Most of that money, more than $10.7 million, was for media buys, to purchase air time on TV and radio for various ads. More than $1.6 million went to designing, producing and sending mailers. Most of the rest of the money went to ad production and phone banks. (Here are some examples of those ads.)
Americans for Tax Reform told the IRS in its tax return, obtained and made public by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), that it raised and spent about $31 million in 2012. Since the group got $26.4 million from Crossroads, only $4.6 million of its revenue came from other donors. At least $11.2 million of Crossroads money had to go toward the political ads reported to the FEC.
That means Americans for Tax Reform spent about 51 percent of its money on political ads reported to the FEC in 2012.
But the group also told the IRS on its tax return, signed under penalty of perjury, that it spent only $9.8 million on direct and indirect campaign activity in 2012, defining that spending as “engaged solely in the making of independent expenditures supporting and opposing candidates for federal office.”
Last Tuesday, CREW filed a complaint with the IRS and the tax division of the Department of Justice against Americans for Tax Reform and its president, Grover Norquist, alleging they deliberately provided false information to the IRS in the tax filing.
ProPublica and others have documented how such groups often minimize their political spending to the IRS. Although the IRS has been hesitant to establish any so-called “bright lines” for campaign activity, campaign finance and tax lawyers say independent expenditures reported to the FEC definitely qualify as political spending under the tax code.
Crossroads GPS itself counted all of its independent expenditures reported to the FEC in both 2010 and 2012 as part of its political spending reported to the IRS.
“Clearly, ads that tell people who to vote for or against are campaign intervention,” said a Congressional Research Service report on IRS rules on political ads prepared for Congress in August 2012. Last summer, the IRS told social welfare nonprofits that wanted to expedite their approval that political expenditures included administrative and overhead costs, and any expenditure on printed, electronic or oral statements supporting or opposing the election or nomination of any candidate for public office.
Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a law professor and associate dean at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in nonprofits and campaign finance, reviewed the Americans for Tax Reform documents at the request of ProPublica and said it was possible that the group was allocating overhead or other costs differently in its tax return than in its FEC filings.
“I do not see how any reasonable allocation differences could result in such a large disparity, however,” Mayer said.
Owens, the former IRS official, said it was possible that some of the media buy money reported to the FEC was later refunded by the TV stations. But even that money wouldn’t account for such a large gap, he said. Owens speculated that Americans for Tax Reform might have determined that some of its ads wouldn’t qualify for reporting to the IRS.
 “There’s just no way that could withstand scrutiny under the laws that exist,” Owens said. “What you have is two documents from the same group, one for the FEC and one for the IRS, both submitted under penalty of perjury. At least one is incorrect.”
Still, on Tuesday, Kartch insisted the $9.8 million figure on Americans for Tax Reform’s tax form, known as a 990, was correct, while ignoring requests from ProPublica to explain how it was derived.
“The correct number to use here is the $9.8 million figure as reported on our 2012 990, not the number you cite from an FEC report,” Kartch wrote. “ATR meets or exceeds the requirements of the FEC and the IRS according to their standards.”
He also scoffed at the CREW complaint, saying, “This attack is political and CREW knows it is nonsense.”
It’s not clear how the IRS might respond to the apparent misuse of the Crossroads grant or to the fact that Americans for Tax Reform seems to have underreported its political spending.
Complaints to the IRS about the tax-exempt status of Crossroads and other political social welfare nonprofits have been made since 2010, but they are still pending. So is an earlier CREW complaint against Americans for Tax Reform for its spending in 2010. A scandal that erupted in May over the IRS targeting the applications of Tea Party and other conservative social welfare nonprofits may have also made the IRS more likely to take a hands-off approach to the groups, experts say.
“They’re going to keep their heads down,” Owens said.
Update: The Center for Responsive Politics also wrote about Americans for Tax Reform using the Crossroads GPS grant for politics on Nov. 18