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Center for Responsive Politics

'Super PAC' American Crossroads Continues Amassing and Utilizing Hefty War Chest Ahead of Election

Michael Beckel

In just seven months, American Crossroads, the highest profile conservative "Super PAC," has
raised more than $24.17 million* in the hopes of tilting the November
midterm elections in favor of the Republican Party. Thanks to changes in
campaign finance rules this year, the group is allowed to collect
unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations to fuel overt
messages supporting and opposing federal candidates.

During September, the conservative outfit raised more than $6.9 million, according to a Center for Responsive Politics
review of campaign finance documents filed Wednesday. Between Oct. 1
and Oct. 13, American Crossroads raised an additional $7.9 million,
according to the Center's review of the group's "pre-general" campaign
finance report, which was also filed Wednesday.
this money, American Crossroads invested $3.1 million in independent
expenditures designed to assist its favored candidates -- nearly a
quarter-million dollars per day, on average -- during the first 13 days
of October, the Center found. Through Oct. 20, the group has spent more
than $16 million on political advertisements and other communications, targeting some of the most competitive races in the country.
Donations from more than a dozen companies helped pad the committee's bank account to make such expenditures.
Corporate contributors detailed in these two new filings include the following organizations:
  • Alliance Resources GP, of Okla., which gave $2 million
  • TRT Holdings of Texas, which gave $1.5 million 
  • Stephens Investments Holdings of Ark., which gave $1 million
  • Universal Health Care Group, of Fla., which gave $250,000
  • Weaver Popcorn Company of Ind., which gave $250,000
  • Rooney Holdings of Okla., which gave $50,000
  • New Prime Inc., of Mo., which gave $30,000
  • Harris Farms, of Calif., which gave $20,000
  • San Joaquin Brokerage Inc., of Calif., which gave $10,000
  • Silver Creek Almond Co., of Calif., which gave $10,000
  • Wawona Packing Co., of Calif., which gave $10,000
  • Overly Hautz Motor Base Company of Ohio, which gave $1,000
  • Tate Enterprises of Fla., which gave $1,000
  • Linn, Campe and Rizzo, Ltd., of Ill., which gave $500
TRT Holdings' giving to American Crossroads now totals $2.5 million* since the group's launch earlier this year. 
the total personal giving of Robert Rowling, the chief executive
officer of TRT Holdings, also matches what has been given from his
company's treasury. Within the past month, he contributed an additional
$1.5 million to American Crossroads, making his year-to-date donation
$2.5 million.
Rowling isn't the only
billionaire being tapped by American Crossroads for additional support.
B. Wayne Hughes, chairman of Public Storage Inc., made a new $1 million
donation in September, bringing his year-to-date support of American
Crossroads to $2.55 million*.
Texas home builder Bob Perry, famous for his financial support of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,
which produced ads critical of Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam military
service during the 2004 election, also made a series of hefty
investments in American Crossroads since early September. 
recently filed documents show four separate donations from Perry
totaling $7 million -- or 47 percent of the group's total haul.
Among other notable donors? 
  • Donald Trump, the New York real estate developer and star of the reality TV series The Apprentice, who gave the group $50,000 on Oct. 13. 
  • Entrepreneur James Gagan, who founded DirectBuy, contributed $100,000 on Oct. 4. 
  • Peter
    F. Herschend, the owner of Herschend Family Entertainment -- which
    operates attractions including Dollywood, Stone Mountain Park and the
    Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J. -- donated $40,000 on Oct. 11.
  • Richard
    Baxter Gilliam, the founder of Cumberland Resources, a Virginia-based
    coal mining company, made two contributions totalling $250,000 during
    September and October.

American Crossroads is headed by top GOP operative Steven Law. It has also been aggressively pitched to donors by Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's political strategist, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
Crossroads is also affiliated with a 501(c)4 nonprofit group known as
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. Unlike American Crossroads,
Crossroads GPS is not required to detail any information about its
donors, as it is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a
nonprofit group that primarily engages in the promotion of social
Some Democrats have criticized the
flurry of politically related spending by 501(c) nonprofit groups this
year, and asked the IRS to probe the groups to determine whether they
are violating the law. Groups in the crosshairs, including Crossroads
GPS, have denied any wrongdoing.
American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have pledged to spent more than $65 million on influencing the election, a goal they are reportedly on pace to reach. On Oct. 13, it reported still having nearly $7.9 million cash on hand.
You can read previous dispatches on OpenSecrets Blog about American Crossroads' fund-raising and spending herehere and here.
*Methodological note: From March until July, American Crossroads was registered as a 527 organization
and reporting to the Internal Revenue Service. At the end of July, it
registered with the Federal Election Commission as a "Super PAC" --
officially an "independent expenditure-only committee" -- and began
reporting to them. The move came after the commission issued guidance to
groups in light of federal court rulings in cases that loosened prior
restrictions on fund-raising from corporations for use in political
messages, including v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Between the time American Crossroads first registered with the IRS and
the time it first began reporting to the FEC, it raised and spent $1.4
million that it only reported to the IRS. The numbers in this article
include contributions reported to the IRS as well as the FEC.

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