Yesterday the long-developing ties between two Republican super PACs and Mitt Romney’s campaign grew stronger when the campaign announced that veteran GOP strategist Ed Gillespie would come aboard as a senior adviser. Gillespie is a founder of and adviser to American Crossroads, which has stockpiled $26.9 million so far this election cycle, much of which is expected to be spent helping the Republican nominee; it’s increasingly likely that will be Romney. Another Crossroads adviser is Carl Forti, who is also president of the pro-Romney Restore Our Future super PAC. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The two super PACs, awash in money, share a number of benefactors. Many of the largest donors to Crossroads are also major donors to Restore Our Future, and vice versa. And many have maxed out to the Romney campaign itself, which has been struggling, relatively speaking, to raise cash.
Other donors are and likely will remain completely unknown to the public because they’ve given to Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) group linked to American Crossroads that does not have to disclose the sources of its funds. OpenSecrets Blog has been able to find at least one documented donation of $4 million to the group by the Republican Jewish Coalition. A number of Romney donors sit on the board of RJC, and a handful of them — Paul Singer, David Flaum, Lewis Eisenberg and Sam Fox — are also major donors to Restore Our Future. Another RJC board member, former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, is the president of the 501(c)(4) group American Action Network, which also received $4 million from RJC and shares an address with American Crossroads.
While Restore Our Future has far outpaced the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, in fundraising ($43.2 million to $6.5 million), Romney’s own campaign has brought inless than half the amount than the incumbent president has raised ($157 million for Obama, $74 million for Romney). But Romney now has two super PACs that are deeply connected to him, through both donors and personnel. Forti, head of Restore Our Future — the group that Romney has referred to as “my super PAC,” despite the requirement that it function independently of the campaign — and Gillespie both have intimate knowledge of the Crossroads game plan and messaging strategy. While Gillespie says he is taking a leave of absence from Crossroads, Forti is not.