Republican political strategist Karl Rove accused the Obama re-election campaign Wednesday of “thuggish behavior” in its effort to force his Crossroads GPS super PAC to reveal it donors.
“This is an attempt to intimidate people who might otherwise contribute to GPS and this is, frankly, thuggish behavior,” Rove told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
Rove, a Fox News contributor, was referring to a complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Elections Commission by the Obama campaign demanding that Crossroads disclose its donors.
In a letter to the commission and Crossroads, Obama attorney, Robert Bauer, described the organization as a political action committee and not, as Rove calls it, “a social welfare organization.”
Rove insisted Wednesday that most of the money he raises for GPS is “in the furtherance of its social welfare goals.”
“It’s an issue advocacy group,” he told Van Susteren. “For example, it’s talking right now about the need to change our policies on spending and debt . . . Our debt is growing at $4 billion a day and we need to begin to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility.
The Obama complaint follows a federal court ruling last week that essentially upheld election laws requiring non profit groups to disclose their donors if their primary purpose is to engage in political activities, such as campaigns and elections.
“Under the pretense of charitable activities, Crossroads has tried to shield its donors — wealthy individuals and corporations who may be pursuing special interest agendas that are not in the national interest,” Bauer wrote in his FEC complaint, according to news reports.
“Complaints about this scheme to achieve anonymity are pending before this agency and before the Internal Revenue Service, but Crossroads seems to believe that it can run out the clock and spend massive sums of money in this election without accounting for a trace of its funding.”
Rove, however, accused Bauer and the president of conducting a personal vendetta against him, and noted that GPS has “for the last two years” met the FEC guidelines that separate an issue advocacy group from a strictly political group.
“We have some of the best lawyers in the country both on the tax side and on the political side . . . to make certain that we never get close to a line that would push us into, make GPS a political group, as opposed to a social welfare organization,” Rove said.
Rove added that the complaint is “not going to change us in one way, shape or form from doing exactly what we're entitled to do under the law, and that is to advocate on behalf of a conservative agenda.”
The FEC has 120 days to respond to the complaint. If it doesn’t, the Obama campaign can pursue it in federal court.
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