Since leaving the George W. Bush White House, Karl Rove
has transitioned from political strategist to analyst. But he's still active in elections behind the scenes, helping to steer millions of dollars to conservative groups trying to influence congressional contests, according to an investigation published Thursday by The Center for Public Integrity
Earlier this year, Rove helped found American Crossroads, a group devoted to helping Republican Senate and House candidates. While he has no official position with the organization, Rove has "been instrumental in organizing strategy meetings that draw top politicos from American Crossroads and ten or so other GOP allied groups collectively slated to spend almost $300 million on ads and get out the vote efforts," the Center's Paper Trail
Rove often teams up with former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, another American Crossroads founder, to make conference calls and trips across the country to solicit big money donors to GOP causes, according to the Paper Trail:
Early this year, the pair hit up Texas billionaires like Harold Simmons with great success: to date, two Simmons-linked companies have been the group's biggest donors, with a total of at least $2 million. Three other Texas tycoons, two of whom are oil company executives, have kicked in about $1 million each for the organization.
After American Crossroads received its early funding, it also established an allied group: Crossroads GPS, a 501(c) (4) that's raised millions of dollars as well but doesn't have to disclose its donors. As of August 21, Steven Law, the group's president, said the two entities together had brought in $17.6 million.
Law told the Center that Rove "has been an informal advisor and has encouraged people to support us."
Rove also put his strategical know-how to work, hosting a meeting earlier this year at his former home in Washington for American Crossroads and ten or so other outside organizations "aimed at coordinating activities to maximize the clout of these groups and reduce redundancies."
Read the center's full report here