June 24, 2011; Source: Christian Science Monitor | American Crossroads thinks that the amount of money in politics is just right — or maybe not even enough. The Karl Rove-backed 501(c)(4)  just announced its plans to raise $120 million to campaign for Republican candidates in the 2012 elections, the money to be split between the 527 arm of Crossroads and the 501(c)(4) Crossroads GPS — the latter permitted to keep the names of its donors secret. 

“There is not too much money in politics,” says the putative chairman of American Crossroads, Mike Duncan He said that his party (whoops! did he self-identify his (c)(4) with a specific political party?) will likely be outspent by the “left”, including labor unions that Crossroads thinks will spend at least the $400 million they spent in 2008 and the Obama campaign which spent $750 million in the election.

Republicans like Karl Rove aren’t the only players looking for big money in the election. The Obama campaign reputedly anticipates a need for a billion dollars to win in 2012 and is pulling out all the fundraising stops.  An unnamed Democratic Party functionary told Bloomberg News that donors who pony up $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund will become “Presidential Partners” and invited to attend campaign briefings that might occasionally include the president himself. 

The $75,800 gets split among the following sources: $5,000 to the Obama campaign, $61,600 to the Democratic National Committee, and $9,200 to national account used in statewide and local races.  Fortunately, Joe Biden is keeping the grassroots in the game, invited donors to give $5 to participate in a raffle to have a chance at dinner with the President himself. The campaign’s aim is 450,000 donors (so far, 381,977 are on board).

Crossroads is a particularly noteworthy example of the problem, funded significantly, according to msnbc’s Michael Isikoff, by billionaire donors such as former Univision honcho Jerry Perenchio (on board already for $2 million), Dallas hotel investor Robert Rowling ($1 million), and Texas homebuilder Bob Perry (in for $500,000 so far, but was the largest donor to Crossroads during the last cycle for $7 million). 

Is this a nonprofit issue? If nonprofits view themselves as defenders of America’s small “d” democracy, then resisting a campaign structure that is subservient to only the rich should be part of their mission and raison d’etre.—Rick Cohen