GOP Special Interest Groups Push House GOP to Cave on Immigration Bill

The American Action Network, an establishment GOP advocacy group, has decided it will air a new television ad on Monday called “Surge” that aims to depict the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that just passed the Senate as tough on border security.

The group, which is led by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, will spend more than $100,000 on television ads to air on Fox News Channel during prime time this week pushing the bill in the House. Coleman founded the American Action Network with Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign National Finance Committee co-chair Fred Malek. In addition to his various roles in politics, Malek is the founder and chairman of Thayer Lodging Group.

“The conservative border surge plan is tough, enforceable, takes away discretion from the Obama administration, and that would finally secure the border,” the group’s spokesman Dan Conston said in a Monday statement, according to Politico. “We hope Americans call their congressperson and tell them to support the conservative plan to secure the border.”

The group also spent money defending Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) from conservative critics after the Gang of Eight bill passed the senate, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

As radio’s Laura Ingraham noted on Monday morning, American Action Network shares an office in Washington, D.C. with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. “American Action shares office space with Crossroads GPS/American Crossroads, one of the largest outside spending networks, which has ties to GOP operative Karl Rove,” the Center for Responsive Politics wrote on OpenSecrets.org.

Rove and other establishment figures have pushed the Senate immigration efforts too. Rove’s Crossroads, the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters noted before, is also actively helping Rubio’s image post-mortem and pushing the Gang of Eight bill.

“Certainly the way in which the bill is perceived and Rubio’s own political fortunes are closely entwined,” Steven Law, the president of American Crossroads, told the Times. “Our first priority is to promote and advance immigration reform, and to talk about the ways this advances conservative goals. If we do that we will not only be helping to move legislation, but it will also protect those who stuck their necks out like Rubio.”

The Times’ Peters noted that Rove’s outfit “plans to play a larger role in the debate once House Republicans get deeper into their discussions.”

The Times also reported that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s new group “Americans for a Conservative Direction,” which is funded by Facebook founder and political leftist Mark Zuckerberg through his FWD.us group, “has been running ads in Iowa lately that implore those watching to ‘stand with Marco Rubio to end de facto amnesty.’” The Mexican government once paid Barbour to lobby on behalf of amnesty for illegal aliens inside the United States.

While he has not endorsed the bill, former president George W. Bush has offered some verbal support for the concepts behind it. Bush has mostly avoided politics since leaving the White House in early 2009, but has at least twice in recent months offered support for immigration reform as a general concept. Bush tried and failed in both 2005 and 2007 to pass similar immigration legislation.

Bush’s brother, likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has endorsed the bill numerous times. He also called on House Republicans to pass it or a similar version of it.

In addition to an influx of cheap labor if this bill ever passes the House, big business special interests would enjoy what the Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan described as an “amnesty” for companies that employed illegal immigrants.

“The legislation would forgive businesses that have employed those immigrants illegally,” Dinan wrote in April. “Employers who have allowed illegal immigrants to work off the books can come forward safely and provide their work history without fear of prosecution, and businesses that knowingly employed someone using a bogus or stolen Social Security number likewise would get a pass, according to an analysis of the bill by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that wants a crackdown on immigration.”

Thus far, House Republicans, particularly House GOP leadership including Speaker John Boehner, have promised the Senate bill is dead on arrival in their chamber of Congress.


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