American Crossroads’ Sugar Daddies

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The latest figures are out for Karl Rove’s two outside spending juggernauts, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. The two groups raised more than $71 million for the 2010 midterm elections, more than any other outside organization apart from the two major parties’ own political committees. That money, it seems, paid off: 55 percent of the candidates supported by American Crossroads won, while 71 percent of Crossroad GPS’ candidates succeeded, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Thanks to Citizens United, we know nothing about Crossroads GPS’ donors. We do, however, know who bankrolled American Crossroads, the highest spending super PAC of the midterm elections. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, more than half of American Crossroads’ cash came from just four high-roller donors.

B. Wayne Hughes: The chairman of Public Storage, and American Crossroads’ first donor, he contributed $3.5 million to the group.

Trevor Rees-Jones: The president and CEO of Chief Oil and Gas, based in Dallas, he’s given American Crossroads $2 million this year.

Robert Rowling: CEO of TRT Holdings, which owns Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym, he’s donated $2.5 million.

Bob Perry: A homebuilder and owner of Perry Homes, he’s doled out $7 million to American Crossroads since September. You might remember Perry from his role in bankrolling Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the outside group that ran a controversial smear campaign against 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry.

That’s one glimpse inside American Crossroads. Here’s another: Of the $3.8 million raised by American Crossroads in the final weeks before the election, more than half came from Big Finance. Those donors range from self-employed stock brokers in Oklahoma and bankers at JPMorgan Chase to Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel Investment Group, who gave $250,000. Griffin’s wife, Anne, a portfolio manager, also donated $250,000.

You should get the picture here. The most powerful independent groups in American politics are bankrolled by CEOs and financiers, the wealthiest folks in America. And they’re the folks who, thanks to Citizens United, will be doing their best to throw President Obama out the White House come 2012.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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