In an attempt to defend against criticism that conservative political groups have put out millions of dollars worth of GOP attack ads from undisclosed donors, Karl Rove has embarked on a media blitz, attempting to create a smokescreen of false and irrelevant claims about liberal groups' campaign funds.
CLAIM: CAP doesn't disclose who its donors are
Rove: CAP is "a political group and doesn't reveal its donors." On the October 12 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Fox News contributor Karl Rove attempted to defend himself against criticism that he's creating ads funded by undisclosed donors by claiming that "President Obama based his attack [on Rove's undisclosed donors] on a blog posting by Think Progress, which is associated with the Center for American Progress [CAP], a group headed by John Podesta, who was the chairman of the president's transition. It is a political group, and does not reveal its donors." Media Research Center president Brent Bozell made a similar claim in a recent column.
FACT: Attacks on CAP are "absurd" because CAP doesn't "electioneer or run candidate campaign ads"
CAP doesn't "electioneer or run candidate campaign ads." In response to Rove's criticism, CAP released a statement noting that it is not involved in any electioneering, and that it does not run candidate campaign ads:
Neither the Center for American Progress nor the Center for American Progress Action Fund electioneer or run candidate campaign ads. If CAPAF ever does run such ads, we will disclose the donors funding that activity. 501c4's are not required to disclose donors and we do not see a disclosure problem with 501c4's, like CAPAF, that continue to operate in the traditional role of a public education and issue advocacy organization; nor have we criticized the Chamber for its traditional work in support of its mission. Our concern is with organizations like the Chamber and others who have taken advantage of the Citizens United ruling to behave like a PAC by running massive amounts of candidate campaign ads without disclosing the source of funding for the ads. There is a long standing legal requirement for PACs to disclose donations, the Chamber and others are acting like PACs but without the disclosure.
Sargent: Rove's "comparison to the Center for American Progress is absurd, because it does not and has never run campaign ads." In an October 12 post to his Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent wrote of Rove's claim: "The comparison to the Center for American Progress is absurd, because it does not and has never run campaign ads."
CLAIM: MoveOn.org doesn't disclose their donors
Rove: A "lot of liberal groups" like "MoveOn.org -- do not report their donors." On the October 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Rove asserted that "a lot of liberal groups -- National Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress, AARP, MoveOn.org -- do not report their donors.
FACT: MoveOn.org funds political activities through a PAC that discloses its donors
Both MoveOn.org and LCV fund their political activities through PACs, which disclose donors. In fact, MoveOn.org funds its political activities thorugh a political action committee (PACs). This PAC, MoveOn.org Political Action is subject to the same disclosure requirements as political parties, and is required to disclose their PAC donations to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). As Sargent reported, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough retracted the similar claim he made about MoveOn.org Political Action.
CLAIM: Obama's campaign benefited from groups that don't disclose their donors
Rove: Obama "had no problem at all with this when groups were spending money on his behalf in 2008 and not disclosing donors." Also during the October 12 edition of Good Morning America, Rove asserted that "[t]he president is being hypocritical about this. He had no problem at all with this when groups were spending money on his behalf in 2008 and not disclosing donors."
FACT: During 2008 election, Obama discouraged donations to outside groups
Politico: "Senator Barack Obama's campaign is steering the candidate's wealthy supporters away from independent Democratic groups." Politico's Ben Smith reported on May 13, 2008, that "Senator Barack Obama's campaign is steering the candidate's wealthy supporters away from independent Democratic groups." Smith added that "major donors have begun to conclude that Obama is serious in trying to cut off funds to the outside groups."
CLAIM: Obama campaign didn't disclose its donors
Rove: Obama "had no problem at all not disclosing his own donors." Also during the October 12 edition of Good Morning America, Rove asserted that Obama "had no problem at all not disclosing his own donors, tens of millions of dollars in contributions to his campaign, that did not -- whose donor names were not revealed."
FACT: Obama disclosed more than 90 percent of his campaign donations
More than 90 percent of Obama's campaign donations included name and occupation of donor. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 90.2 percent of all of the donations Obama recieved over $200 were reported to the FEC with the name and occupation of the donor. By contrast, Rove has admitted that one of his groups, American Crossroads GPS, does not disclose the identities of any of its donors.