American Crossroads’ Sugar Daddies

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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 Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend