According to Federal Election Commission records, two Tea Party political action committees have raised more money combined in 2013 than three political action committees affiliated with Karl Rove.
Politico reported on Wednesday that “[t]he trio of conservative outside groups founded by GOP strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie … American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS and the Conservative Victory Project jointly posted a $3.37 million fundraising haul …in the first half of 2013.”
In contrast, the two leading Tea Party political action committees–the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund super PAC and the TeaPartyExpress.org PAC–took in more than $4.1 million combined during the same period. The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund raised $2 million and the TeaPartyExpress.org PAC raised $2.1 million. Both groups also had plenty of cash on hand as of June 30, 2013, the end of the reporting period. The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund had over $600,000 in cash, and the TeaPartyExpress.org PAC had over $800,000 in cash.
Significantly, Politico reported that $1 million of the $3.3 million raised by Rove’s groups came “from a single corporate donor,” while most of the donations to the Tea Party PACs came from unitemized donations of less than $200.
According to Roll Call, “Our Country Deserves Better PAC – TeaPartyExpress.org reported it had receipts of $2,179,948 . . . as of June 30. The PAC received $1.8 million from contributors giving $200 or less.”
USA Today reported that “more than $8 out of every $10 collected by the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund came in chunks of $200 or less, according to the group’s first fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission.”
In contrast, Karl Rove’s groups relied upon a small number of large donors. Politico reported that “most of the money raised by Crossroads came from large donors — including a $1 million donation from conservative billionaire Harold Simmons’ Contran Corporation. Other major donors to Crossroads include the asset management firm Skybridge Capital, attorney Boyden Gray, and investment and holdings company Rooney Holdings.”
Jonathan Collegio, a spokesperson for all three of Karl Rove’s political action committees, tried to put the best spin on the disappointing fundraising news, but the rise in the Tea Party’s fundraising capabilities stands in marked contrast to Rove’s sagging fortunes.
“Our fundraising results so far are roughly comparable to where we were at this point in 2011, when you consider the absence of a presidential election this cycle,” Collegio told Politico.
While 2013 does not precede a Presidential election year, as was the case in 2011, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund was only launched in February of 2013. In contrast, Karl Rove has been raising money through his political action committees for several years, and has been seeking contributions for political candidates from high net worth donors for decades.