by Max Brantley
But here's a good illustration — U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, Karl Rove's hatchetman turned congressman is the poster child — of the silliness in calling things like the American Crossroads Super PAC anything but a hand-in-glove extension of favored campaigns. Or, it would be more proper to say, the campaigns are a tool of American Crossroads.
The Sunlight Foundation shines some light on the cockroaches feasting in the darkened kitchen of campaign finance.
Jim Dyke, secretary of American Crossroads, co-hosted a fundraiser for freshman congressman Tim Griffin, R-Ark. The other hosts were former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillispie and his wife. Gillespie and Karl Rove, the longtime senior adviser in the George W. Bush administration, encouraged the formation of American Crossroads and served as fundraisers for the group.
The fundraising reception was at a Capitol Hill Mexican restaurant on Sept. 14; the invite asked donors for up to $2,000 from PACs and $1,000 from individuals. Gillespie has hosted congressional fundraisers in the past, but this appears to be the first such event hosted by Dyke in Party Time’s records, which date back to mid-2008 but do not include all of D.C.’s fundraisers.
“Hosting the fundraiser could raise questions about possible coordination,” campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel, of Arent Fox, wrote in an email, “but the FEC has never pursued a case based solely on hosting a fundraiser.”
Gillespie, Dyke and Griffin all said there was no coordination. In an email, Gillespie wrote,"I’m proud to contribute to Tim Griffin’s re-election campaign, and have urged others to do so as well, but I’m not privy to his campaign’s strategy or decisions. Likewise, I’m proud to support the efforts of American Crossroads and believe it’s an important counterweight to liberal groups, but I’m not an officer there, not a paid employee nor consultant and have no control over its expenditures."
Dyke, who is from Arkansas, wrote, “As a board member [of American Crossroads] I am committed to upholding the legal separation between campaign and third party coordination and made certain that a contribution to Tim’s campaign and encouraging others to do so was in no way a violation of that separation.”
Asked if the event raised questions about coordination, Griffin wrote in a statement, “No. Jim Dyke has been a close friend for almost a decade, was a member of my wedding party and grew up in my district.”
These people and groups are so tightly coordiinated on Republican messaging that they can read each others' minds without overt communication anyway. It's somewhat like the coming Supreme Court case in which Justice Clarence Thomas likely will be the deciding vote on health care reform and ignore suggestions that he not participate because his wife is raking in big sums of money for fighting health care reform. Wife or no wife, Thomas was going to vote against Obama.
PS — Before you say Sunlight is some partisan outfit, please note that I've used them before to describe Mike Ross' cozy and perfectly timed shakedowns of lobbyists before key votes on the likes of environmental regulations. The only green ever associated with Ross, needless to say, was money.