In November the left-wing publication ProPublica reported that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS gave Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) $26.4 million in 2012. What ProPublica failed to note is that this donation by Rove’s group accounted for more than 85% of ATR’s 2012 total contributions of $30.9 million.
In essence, ATR is now a wholly owned subsidiary within Karl Rove’s network of political organizations.
Norquist has served as the executive director of ATR since its founding in 1985. While he and Karl Rove have known each other for more than three decades, it was not until Rove left the Bush White House in 2007 that ATR started to become financially dependent on Rove and his related entities.
In 2010 approximately one third ($4 million) of ATR’s $12 million in contributions came from Crossroads GPS. Slightly more than one third ($4.2 million) came from the Center to Protect Patient Rights. Contributions to ATR from non-Rove sources shrank to $4.5 million in 2012 from an estimated $8 million in 2010, while the huge $22.4 million increase in Crossroads GPS’s contribution during the same time period reduced non-Rove sources to a mere 15% of all ATR contributions.
The friendship between Karl Rove and Grover Norquist began 30 years ago when the two shared posts with the College Republican National Committee. Karl Rove’s career took him to Texas where he worked for a small-government PAC and served as a strategist in a series of Texas gubernatorial elections. With the presidential election of George W. Bush, Rove’s expanding political clout and expertise was brought to Washington, where Norquist had long worked as director of ATR.
It is likely that Rove’s Crossroads GPS will make a smaller contribution to ATR in 2013 since it is not an election year. However, in 2014, with Congressional mid-term elections in which all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate are up for grabs, ATR is well positioned to receive an even larger contribution from Crossroads GPS than the $26.4 million it received in 2012.