'Super PAC' with Ties to Karl Rove Dominates Senate Campaigns

Karl Rove-inspired American Crossroads has raised $31.6 million for campaign.

ByABC News
September 28, 2010, 1:17 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2010— -- American Crossroads – a pro-Republican "super PAC" formed with help from Karl Rove, the former strategist for George W. Bush – has emerged as a powerful force in key U.S. Senate races this election season, dominating groups of its kind in fundraising and spending, according to a review of campaign finance data by ABC News.

The group is also the most prominent example of the new campaign finance dynamic created in the wake of two Supreme Court decisions earlier this year that lifted some limits on campaign spending and allowed corporations and interest groups to funnel money directly into political campaigns.

American Crossroads and more than two dozen similar groups -- known technically as independent expenditure-only committees -- can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash from individuals, corporations, and unions with the sole purpose of running advertisements in support of specific candidates.

Unlike traditional PACs, or political action committees, they cannot give money directly to candidates or coordinate their efforts with individual campaigns.

American Crossroads has outspent the next group of its kind, the conservative Club for Growth, by more than double, $4.2 million, according to campaign finance filings through August.

It has also raised more than $31.6 million for the midterm election campaign, according to spokesman Jonathan Collegio, well on its way to a goal of $52 million by Nov. 5. Most of its cash has been raised since Labor Day and has not yet been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.

American Crossroads is "on the vanguard of this new wave of independent expenditure-only committees," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance data. "They've been very aggressive. But we've got a whole lot of election left to go. These numbers are just a snapshot in time."

Some of the group's biggest TV ad buys have been in Missouri, where it has spent more than $700,000, and in Colorado, where it has spent more than $500,000, attacking Democratic U.S. Senate candidates and their records on government spending.