Members of Congress have been remarkably quiet about President Barack Obama’s controversial new advocacy group, Organizing for Action, but the GOP super PAC American Crossroads has jumped in with an excoriating new video that rebrands the president’s group “Organizing for Access.”
Never mind that Organizing for Action operates in exactly the same way as Crossroads GPS, the politically active nonprofit that is an arm of American Crossroads. Crossroads GPS spent $70.6 million on independent campaign expenditures in the 2012 elections, according to the Sunlight Foundation. But like OFA, Crossroads GPS operates outside the disclosure rules as a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit.
Obama organizers pledged to voluntarily disclose donors to the group when they announced in January that Organizing for Action would take up where the Obama campaign left off, rallying grass-roots support for the president’s agenda. But the group has drawn a steady drumbeat of criticism and bad press, including recent editorials in The New York Times and The Washington Post casting its activities as disturbing end-run around campaign finance laws.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, donors of $500,000 or more will be rewarded with quarterly meetings with the president. Run by Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 national campaign manager, who just set up his own for-profit political consulting firm, OFA’s recent spending includes $100,000 on ads to pressure GOP lawmakers to back gun control measures. Common Cause President Bob Edgar called on Obama last week to shut the group down.
The American Crossroads ad features video clips of Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, saying, “This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access,” and asking, “I wonder what candidate Obama would say about this?” The satirical ad, which hawks “Organizing for Access” as a commercial product that accepts “all major credit cards, personal checks and large stacks of cash,” also features a video clip of Obama saying, “We’ve got to change how business is done in Washington.”
Graves will not run for Senate in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves said Monday he would not run for the state’s open Senate seat, narrowing the potential field of GOP congressmen running statewide in 2014 to four.
“My decision rested on what would be best for my family, my district and the state of Georgia, and I have concluded that the right path for now is to forgo this Senate race and continue serving in my current role,” Graves said in a statement.
Republican Rep. Paul Broun is the only declared candidate in the Senate race. GOP Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price are considering bids, along with a number of current and former state elected officials.
Democratic Rep. John Barrow is also considered a potential candidate for the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Full story
Priebus announced the RNC's new political director. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Republican National Committee has tapped Chris McNulty to serve as its new political director.
“I am confident that Chris’s enthusiasm, energy, extensive political background at the state level, specifically in the areas of grassroots organization and ground game experience will prove invaluable as we move forward,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement released Monday.
McNulty comes from Speaker John A. Boehner’s political organization, where he served as executive director. He moved up the ranks of GOP politics in his native Ohio and was a regional political director at the RNC from 2006 to 2010.
Bennet endorsed Romanoff, who is running for the 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., on Friday endorsed his one-time primary opponent, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, in his campaign for Colorado’s 6th District.
“Andrew Romanoff has a long record of fighting for Coloradans and a commitment to empowering our next generation with greater opportunity,” Bennet, who is now the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
Judd visited Washington, D.C. on Friday to speak to students at George Washington University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Actress Ashley Judd spoke to a ballroom of college students about public health on Friday afternoon, never directly addressing what she referred to as “elephant in the room” — a potential Senate bid against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
At a long-planned event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Judd spoke for more than an hour about global women’s health, gender equality and violence against women.
Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a popular GOP figure in the Pelican State, confirmed he’s “pondering” a run against three-term Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.
Long thought to be a likely contender for governor, Dardenne told CQ Roll Call that recent polling had him mulling the Senate race — one of the national GOP’s top targets in 2014.
“You can’t help but ponder it when you see some numbers like that and it gets people talking and wanting to know what you may be interested in doing,” he said in a Friday morning phone interview. “I guess ‘pondering’ is the best word — at least for right now.”
Dardenne trailed Landrieu by only a few points, 43 percent to 46 percent, in a recent hypothetical horse-race matchup from the automated Democratic survey firm Public Policy Polling.
Young on Thursday declined to discuss whether he will seek re-election. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)
Florida Rep. C.W. Bill Young, 82, said Thursday he has not made a decision yet on whether to seek re-election in 2014.
“I never make any announcement or, actually, a decision this — this is way too early!” the Republican told CQ Roll Call during votes on Capitol Hill.
First elected to Congress in 1970, Young would likely win another term if he runs. If the 13th District becomes open, Democrats would have a reasonable shot of picking up his seat. A majority of voters in the coastal district cast their ballot for President Barack Obama in 2012.
Young, sitting in a wheelchair, said there were a number of factors that would play in his decision about re-election.
“There’s a lot of things that I analyze leading up to, you know — what do I do next with my life?” he said. “I’ve been here 42 years. And I’ve had a good run. Most everything that I’ve touched has worked.”
Brown voted against the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Several congressmen running for Senate in 2014 or considering a bid voted against final passage of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization on Thursday.
A majority of House Republicans voted against the Senate-backed version of the bill, S 47, which passed with Democratic support. But those “no” votes, easily packaged into a 30-second TV spot, could pose a political problem for potential GOP Senate candidates down the road in competitive races.
Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who is running for the state’s open Senate seat, voted “no.” So did his fellow Peach State Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, Tom Price and Tom Graves — all potential Senate contenders.
John Hernandez, the California Democrat who lost in a competitive Central Valley district by 18 points, may be preparing for another bid for Congress.
Or maybe he’s just trying to retire some leftover debt.
Three local elected officials are hosting a fundraiser for Hernandez on March 14 in Fresno, Calif. According to an invitation to the event — which features a banner of Democratic presidential headshots — $30 “donations” will go toward a 2014 congressional exploratory committee, while suggested “contributions” of $500, $1,000 and $2,500 will go toward retiring the debt from Hernandez’s campaign last year.
Hernandez had $18,000 in cash on hand headed into the final month of the campaign before losing to now-Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As of Dec. 11, Hernandez had $40,500 in debt owed to consultants and campaign aides, according to his post-general report filed to the Federal Election Commission.
Democrats view the 21st District as a missed opportunity in 2012 and are likely to target it again next year. For example, here’s one of Hernandez’s television spots that was criticized for its poor production quality:
The Club for Growth will launch a television advertisement in Arkansas on Friday targeting Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who is up for re-election in 2014.
It’s the first cannon shot in what is expected to be a hard-fought and extended war for Pryor’s seat — and control of the Senate
Club for Growth Action, an affiliate of the well-funded anti-tax group, will tie Pryor to an unpopular President Barack Obama in the Razorback State with the six-figure buy.
“He’s the only Arkansan in Congress today who voted for Obamacare,” an elderly-sounding male narrator says over a graphic of darkened figure that eventually morphs into a picture of Pryor. “The only one who voted for the Obama stimulus. He joined Obama to bail out the Wall Street banks.”
“When you vote for Pryor, you vote for Obama,” the narrator says. “It’s that simple.”
Pryor, considered one of the more vulnerable senators facing re-election this cycle, does not currently have a Republican challenger. Washington, D.C., Republicans are recruiting freshman Rep. Tom Cotton to run, but he hasn’t yet said what he is doing.
The Club for Growth backed Cotton in his 2012 House run.
Himes will serve as national finance chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut will be the new national finance chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2014 cycle, according to two well-placed Democratic sources on Capitol Hill.
Officials announced the new position for Himes, a three-term Democrat from Connecticut, at a morning meeting for members.
The committee previously named Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz of Pennsylvania as its finance chairwoman, but in recent weeks, she has indicated she plans to run for governor in 2014.
Himes has major fundraising bona fides. Not only does he serve on the House Financial Services Committee, he’s also a former employee of Goldman Sachs. His base in the 4th District is Greenwich, Conn., one of the wealthiest communities in the country.
Himes has been an active with the DCCC in recent cycles. In 2012, he served as chairman of the committee’s Frontline program for incumbent retention.
The DCCC did not immediately return a request for comment.
Here is a rundown of the previously named DCCC 2014 leadership team.
Rep. Tom Latham said Wednesday he will not run for Senate, citing a responsibility to his constituents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Iowa Rep. Tom Latham announced Wednesday that he will not run for the Republican nomination for Senate, clearing a major primary hurdle for Rep. Steve King, who is seriously considering a bid.
“I cannot in good conscience launch a two-year statewide campaign that will detract from the commitment I made to the people who elected me, at a time when our nation desperately needs less campaigning and more leadership,” Latham said in a statement.
Baucus will acquire his second Republican challenger this week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
A second Republican challenger to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will officially announce his candidacy Thursday.
State Rep. Champ Edmunds will formally enter the race to challenge the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee at a press conference at Bitterroot Motors in Missoula at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to a release.
Ellmers is one of the club's newer targets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Congressional Republicans already peering over their shoulder for potential intraparty challengers won’t be sleeping any easier with the Club for Growth’s new website, PrimaryMyCongressman.com.
Club for Growth Action, the super PAC arm of the anti-tax group, announced Wednesday the goal of the new website “is to raise awareness of Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats,” according to a release.
The group is seeking GOP primary challengers for these nine members and offers visitors an opportunity to recommend potential candidates: Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma, Steven M. Palazzo of Mississippi, Martha Roby of Alabama, Aaron Schock of Illinois and Mike Simpson of Idaho. Full story