Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, perhaps the most prodigious fund-raiser the GOP has ever seen, will be joining forces with politically powerful Crossroads groups, the independent campaign organization that helped tilt several congressional races to the GOP in 2010.
In announcing his arrival, the organization also disclosed its plans to double its previously announced fund-raising goal for 2010, meaning it hopes to raise over $200 million.
The news is yet another sign that independent political groups that can raise unlimited sums from corporate, individual and union donors will play a bigger role than ever in the upcoming election, possibly overshadowing traditional campaign and party organizations in some races.
Crossroads is the best known example of these new groups that have been formed on the left and the right. Crossroads consists of two separate organizations. One, known as American Crossroads, is a so-called super PAC that can raise unlimited funds for political advocacy and must disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission. The other, Crossroads GPS, is a nonprofit organization that can also raise unlimited funds but does not disclose its donors. American Crossroads, like similar organizations on the left and the right, is organized under the 501(c)4 portion of the tax code which governs "social welfare organizations."
Barbour is a legendary fund-raiser for the Republican Party, related organizations and individual campaigns. In 2010 he led the Republican Governors Assn. and broke all records for fund-raising and spending. The details of his upcoming work with Crossroads were described in a press release from Crossroads on Thursday night.
Just a week ago, the groups announced they had already exceeded this year’s goal, raising more than $24.5 million to date.
“Both Gov. Barbour and Karl Rove are prodigious fund-raisers and brilliant strategists, and we are honored to have them both engaged with us,” said Steven Law, who serves as president of the two Crossroads groups. “We are reaching high in our fund-raising goals because we believe this is going to be a destiny-shaping election for our country.”
The announcement arrived via email Thursday night, not long after President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress. As the Los Angeles Times reported just before the speech a recently formed Democratic Super PAC was active at the same time, holding an event in Chicago near the hotel where the Obama finance committee was meeting to raise funds for the president's official campaign organization.