Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Romney's Former Campaign Manager Building Political Group to Foil Democratic Candidates across the Country

In a sterile office building a few miles from the White House, Mitt Romney’s old campaign manager has a new mission: foiling Democratic candidates across the country. 
Republicans say that Matt Rhoades’s fledgling political group, America Rising, is attempting to build the party’s most sophisticated, modern, and centralized opposition research effort ever. It is key to the GOP’s hopes of resurrecting itself after the soul-crushing presidential defeat of 2012.
But what’s most notable about American Rising is this: It is the first high-profile political combat organization to rely heavily on a for-profit company, rather than operating as a nonprofit group, exploiting increasingly lax campaign finance laws to maximum advantage. 
America Rising’s super PAC raised $475,000 through the end of January, according to federal filings. But its for-profit arm took in far more than that — at least $1.3 million — according to partially disclosed figures from the group that does not include money from individuals and corporations. 
Super PACs can raise unlimited dollars but must disclose their contributors and are forbidden from certain types of coordinating with candidates and political parties. Nonprofit political groups do not have to disclose their donors but must spend a majority of their funds on nonpolitical activities. 
As a for-profit, America Rising wants the best of all worlds — unlimited funds, undisclosed contributors, and close coordination with campaigns — though campaign finance watchdogs say it is a gray area and that the group is required by law to charge funders fair-market value for the research it provides them. 
“They want to get secret money,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which advocates tighter campaign finance laws. 
Though the group says Romney is not directly involved in its effort, the super PAC that supported Romney donated $100,000 to America Rising. 
And Mitt Romney definitely approves this message. “I am convinced that he will erase the disadvantage GOP candidates have had,” Romney said of Rhoades, in a statement to the Globe. “And if I were a Democrat candidate, I’d sleep less soundly knowing that Matt is watching everything they have and will say and do.”
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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