You are hereHuffington Post: American Crossroads GPS, New Rove Group, Has Dems Questioning Obama's Political Operations

Huffington Post: American Crossroads GPS, New Rove Group, Has Dems Questioning Obama's Political Operations


July 21, 2010- News that two former top Bush strategists have formed a spinoff organization to dig up dirt on Congressional Democrats before the 2010 elections has reignited a debate about how the Obama administration has structured the Democratic Party's own political operations.

On Wednesday morning, Politico reported that American Crossroads GPS, the organization formed by operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, hauled in an impressive $5.1 million in June. A separate legal entity from its parent shop, American Crossroads (a distinction that allows it to hide the names of its donors), GPS was poised to use that money for the ostensible purpose of wreaking havoc on behalf of Republican candidates.

It's the type of secretive electioneering that has Democrats publicly crying foul -- the Democratic National Committee sent out the story on Wednesday morning. In private, however, party operatives expressed anxiety with the development.

During the 2008 campaign, a group of Democratic operatives essentially tried to create its own version of American Crossroads GPS. Progressive Media was formed in 2007 as an independent opposition research arm for the presidential campaign. The organization, structured then as a 527 group, produced notable hits, including footage of John McCain saying he would be comfortable if U.S. forces were in Iraq for 100 years as well as the first mention of the Arizona Republican's numerous homes.

But the money that Progressive Media needed for operations was all but cut off after the Obama campaign sent out word to donors that it wanted the funds channeled through its shop. The decision proved remarkably helpful to the campaign, which was provided with a historic funding stream to overwhelm the McCain campaign's message. But it was a blow for Progressive Media, which was forced to evolve into several different incarnations. The first was Progressive Accountability, a 501c(4) group that produced issue-oriented material. The second was a separate group, Accountable America, an organization set up by operative Tom Matzzie (a founder of Progressive Media) with the purpose of digging up dirt on major Republican donors.

Both groups played important roles in the 2008 campaign. But after the election they've been revamped. Progressive Accountability is now fully incorporated under the umbrella of two more mainstream Democratic institutions -- Media Matters and the Center for American Progress. Accountable America has been focused on financial regulatory reform.

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